Democrats playing games with CBO numbers

Rick Moran
This is really not the CBO's fault, although you would think Director Douglas Elmendorf would explain some of the gimmicks being used by the Democrats on his blog. (He has done so in the past.) The long and short of it is this; Harry Reid is "cooking the books" regarding the true cost to the taxpayer of the senate's version of health care reform.

The Wall Street Journal:

Late yesterday members were still poring over the numbers and details of the new Reid bill, but reasons already are emerging to suspect that CBO's math doesn't add up. Most importantly, according to the Republican Policy Committee, the Reid bill games the CBO process by holding back the major spending until July of 2013. This is a trick Democrats have been playing with the health care cost numbers for months: counting ten years of revenues, but only seven years of spending. Senate Budget Committee Republicans today reestimated the price tag over the first ten years of full implementation and the cost of the bill is $2.5 trillion.What also has free marketeers outraged are the new taxes proposed by the Reid bill to pay for health care. According to the Republican Policy Committee analysis: "The bill includes a new Medicare payroll tax that, for the first time, will divert Medicare taxes to pay for a new entitlement." Small businesses would also be slapped with "play or pay" taxes if they don't cover their employees, though the details of those new taxes are not yet available.

The bill features another Washington favorite, mandating benefits while requiring the states to pay for them. The Reid bill shifts large costs through Medicaid expansions at a time when states are already flat broke. Thus the restrained costs of the Senate bill are partly a deception, because they ignore the extra health care tab that will have to be paid by taxpayers in the 50 states.


As Ed Lasky so delicately put it in pointing me to this article, "What a crock."

Indeed, the House bill performs similar magic with revenue and expenses - 7 years of paying for health care but figuring 10 years of revenue.

And the CBO is stuck. They have to give their assessment of the costs based on what's in the bill, not based on what tricks the Democrats want to play with the numbers. That's their job, but they might have been more responsible and pointed out this bit of legislative legerdemain.

For Reid and the Democrats, it's full speed ahead with a vote on bringing the bill to the floor for debate scheduled for Saturday.


Hat Tip: Ed Lasky

 
This is really not the CBO's fault, although you would think Director Douglas Elmendorf would explain some of the gimmicks being used by the Democrats on his blog. (He has done so in the past.) The long and short of it is this; Harry Reid is "cooking the books" regarding the true cost to the taxpayer of the senate's version of health care reform.

The Wall Street Journal:

Late yesterday members were still poring over the numbers and details of the new Reid bill, but reasons already are emerging to suspect that CBO's math doesn't add up. Most importantly, according to the Republican Policy Committee, the Reid bill games the CBO process by holding back the major spending until July of 2013. This is a trick Democrats have been playing with the health care cost numbers for months: counting ten years of revenues, but only seven years of spending. Senate Budget Committee Republicans today reestimated the price tag over the first ten years of full implementation and the cost of the bill is $2.5 trillion.

What also has free marketeers outraged are the new taxes proposed by the Reid bill to pay for health care. According to the Republican Policy Committee analysis: "The bill includes a new Medicare payroll tax that, for the first time, will divert Medicare taxes to pay for a new entitlement." Small businesses would also be slapped with "play or pay" taxes if they don't cover their employees, though the details of those new taxes are not yet available.

The bill features another Washington favorite, mandating benefits while requiring the states to pay for them. The Reid bill shifts large costs through Medicaid expansions at a time when states are already flat broke. Thus the restrained costs of the Senate bill are partly a deception, because they ignore the extra health care tab that will have to be paid by taxpayers in the 50 states.


As Ed Lasky so delicately put it in pointing me to this article, "What a crock."

Indeed, the House bill performs similar magic with revenue and expenses - 7 years of paying for health care but figuring 10 years of revenue.

And the CBO is stuck. They have to give their assessment of the costs based on what's in the bill, not based on what tricks the Democrats want to play with the numbers. That's their job, but they might have been more responsible and pointed out this bit of legislative legerdemain.

For Reid and the Democrats, it's full speed ahead with a vote on bringing the bill to the floor for debate scheduled for Saturday.


Hat Tip: Ed Lasky