CBO: Baucus’s ObamaCare bill would reduce deficit by $81 billion over 10 years

posted at 5:36 pm on October 7, 2009 by Allahpundit

Tough stuff. I think Stephanopoulos is right about how the GOP will spin it — $829 billion over the next decade to insure fewer than 10 percent more of the population? — but this does give The One political cover on his heretofore Big Lie about ObamaCare being “deficit-neutral.” Especially since CBO is the agency that’s been tormenting him for months with projections that the program will cost vastly more than the White House claims. Now, finally, they’ve handed him a politically salable option.

You can read the full 27-page letter at NRO. The money line in the section on budgetary impact: “Those estimates are all subject to substantial uncertainty.” Expect that to be a key GOP talking point given that (a) amendments to Baucus’s bill will wreak havoc with this analysis and (b) Medicare’s initial projection of $12 billion in expenditures for the year 1990 turned out to be “uncertain” too. How uncertain? Actual 1990 expenditures ended up at $107 billion, a cool 800 percent higher than Congress thought they’d be. Woe unto him who relies on any conservative estimate of how much a giant social program will cost.

Even so, I’m troubled by this Red State item posted shortly before the CBO news dropped claiming that Republicans were ready to cave on several key health-care provisions, including the public option(!). That’s implausible, but less implausible now than it was before CBO blessed Baucus’s bill as a deficit-cutter. They’ll never endorse a public option lest the base revolt, but if the White House starts pushing Baucus’s plan as a money-saver, the polls may move and purple-district House Republicans may panic. (Er, are there any purple-district Republicans left? There’s Joe Cao and, um…) Exit question: Whither Waterloo?

Update: The early GOP spin:

Any Democratic response to the CBO report will be “tricky,” says the aide, especially since the Baucus bill is still not defined in legislative language. “Democrats will have to find a way to thread the needle between their promises, the president’s promises, and the reality. The president, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid have said that they wouldn’t add a penny to the deficit. Still, not one poll shows the people believing that. Costs will go up and people aren’t buying the Democrats’ claims.”

“This bill is still the worst of all worlds and the CBO’s report is preliminary,” the aide concludes.

You’ll be hearing the word “preliminary” a lot in the next few days. Meanwhile, Bob Dole puts the GOP on the back and urges them to sign on the dotted line.

Update: Gulp.

The estimate removes a major hurdle toward a vote in the committee, because several senators said they needed to see the cost breakdown before casting a vote – in particular, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), who could be the only Republican senator to support the legislation.

A Senate Finance vote is not expected Thursday, but perhaps Friday, Senate aides said.

Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air



Trackback URL


The constitutional stuff works with you guys, but not with moderates/Independents, etc.

And, frankly, if the GOP can’t articulate well about why the bill is bad, then they need to go find some other kind of work.

This isn’t just a game.

AnninCA on October 8, 2009 at 10:20 AM

Apparently, you think the Constitution is a game!

That Constitutional “stuff” works with moderates, Indies and even some Old School Democrats.
Guess you saw only “Republicans” and “Right Wing extremists” at those town hall meetings, tea parties and the 9/12 rally.

Ranting about Constitutional rights better cut it!
Those are the most “solid reasons” there are to oppose any unjust legislation such as this.
They are also a reason that should the abomination of NObamaCare get passed, it will be ruled Unconstitutional by SCOTUS.

What is with you wanting to wipe your b*tt with the Constitution of the United States of America???
Are you even an American?
Were you born here or did you emigrate from Russia?

Jenfidel on October 8, 2009 at 10:50 AM

Gulp….now take the taxes out of the bill and see what the deficit is.
The only way this bill survives is by taxing…you are robbing Peter to pay Paul.
Naturally Paul ends up in good shape, and Peter is broke.

right2bright on October 8, 2009 at 10:51 AM

New Book from The Fraser Institute Reveals Serious Problems with Government Health Insurance in Canada; Timely Warning for Americans Considering a ‘Public Option’

TORONTO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–As Americans debate the merits of a “public option” for health insurance, a new book published by the Fraser Institute, one of Canada’s leading economic think tanks, documents the many significant problems with government-run health care in Canada, providing valuable comparative information for U.S. policy-makers at a crucial moment.

“The truth is that government-run health insurance in Canada fails patients, exploits medical providers, wastes taxpayers’ money, and is ultimately financially unsustainable,” said Dr. Brett Skinner, Fraser Institute director of bio-pharma and health policy and author of Canadian Health Policy Failures: What’s wrong? Who gets hurt? Why nothing changes.

“Health care choices are highly politicized in Canada because government controls health insurance. Governments make choices about access, costs, and coverage that are politically expedient, not economically rational. Americans can learn what to avoid by reading this book.”

The peer-reviewed book identifies six key areas where Canadian health policy is failing: unsustainable costs, shortages of health professionals, shortages of medical technology, long waits for treatment, inefficient drug spending, and a lack of access to new medicines.

Canadian Health Policy Failures: What’s wrong? Who gets hurt? Why nothing changes can be downloaded as a free PDF or purchased in print at http://www.fraseramerica.org.

Akzed on October 8, 2009 at 10:54 AM

Considering the fact that taxes start kicking in year one and benefit cost increases are delayed 3 – 5 years out is a planned smokescreen. These cretins know that the CBO only goes out 10 years and that by using this little bit of trickery, they can deceptively make it look like it’s a deficit reducer.

Increase revenues the first 3 – 5 years before turning on costs of the program.

Worst president and Congress in history.

jdflorida on October 8, 2009 at 11:04 AM

The Republican response should be quite simple. Use Medicare as an example of how numbers don’t follow predictions. For that matter, pick any social program and show how it failed to live up to the gov’s predictions. Then beat the hell out of all the taxes in the bill. And if Baucus and his crew were foolish enough to leave the medical devise tax in, beat them over the head with that little nugget.
“Gee Grandpa, you can’t get that pacemaker, the taxes are deadly.”

TQM38a on October 8, 2009 at 11:09 AM

I understand that the seniors will be hit hardest because they will lose much of their Medicare benefits if this passes. It will cost them more for medical coverage, which they won’t get because many of them are on a fixed income.

DL13 on October 8, 2009 at 11:23 AM

I am envious of the Democrats. When they take control of the two elected branches of the government their politicians pursue the agenda agressively, but when the GOP has control of congress and the presidency what do our guys do? They spend their time in public restroom stalls tapping their feet to show tunes.

DFCtomm on October 8, 2009 at 11:59 AM

Check this for a glimpse of what may be to come…..clusterfuc@!


TheVer on October 8, 2009 at 12:01 PM

DFCtomm on October 8, 2009 at 11:59 AM

When you have the media carrying your water for you, it’s easy.

It really makes no difference. Pass or not, this country is gonna go bankrupt in a few years anyways. It’s sad, but you can’t keep giving candy to everyone and expect things to work out well.

lorien1973 on October 8, 2009 at 12:05 PM

So whos willing to start turning off the taps? Everybody who has half a brain knows this needs to stop and soon, but nobody dares touch anything because they are afraid of being called(insert overused and untrue name here. We need to elect people willing to go in and get their hands dirty with chainsaws and start chopping arms off this….’thing’ called government

TheVer on October 8, 2009 at 12:08 PM

It really makes no difference. Pass or not, this country is gonna go bankrupt in a few years anyways. It’s sad, but you can’t keep giving candy to everyone and expect things to work out well.

lorien1973 on October 8, 2009 at 12:05 PM

I made a comment about that earlier. We aren’t going to be able to pay for our current entitlements, and military spending, so how are we going to pay for this? It’s some kind of absurd theater performed by lunatics.

DFCtomm on October 8, 2009 at 12:14 PM

Someone on the radio this morning made an excellent point (don’t know if this has been mentioned yet):

The CBO figures are based on 3 extra years of taxes and 7 years of service over the 10 year period, because the services don’t start until 2013. That’s 3 “free” years of collecting revenues. After the first 10 years, it’s going to cost a LOT more.

That doesn’t even take into account the fact that they’vs surely underestimated the cost.

Daggett on October 8, 2009 at 12:22 PM

Anyone who believes that needs their head examined. The CBO now begins their descent into discredibility.

cjk on October 8, 2009 at 12:35 PM

So basically what this is a giant tax scam with big Medicare cuts facilitated by the MSM and echoed by a panicky Rinopundit. On a draft no less!
Thanks to Dr.K for doing the basic research. I’ll take him in a foxhole when it gets tough, not Mr. GULP.

jjshaka on October 8, 2009 at 12:36 PM

A while back I stipulated the following…..

This demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of what the “recociliation” process really means. “Recociliation was adopted as a an optional practice to be employed under the “Pay-Go” rules to limit deficit spending. To reconcile in this sense is to reconcile spending with revenues.

Explicit in langauge adopted to invoke “reconciliation” protocols is that the bill in question must reduce the deficit, or at a minimum be “revenue neutral.”

This why I think we saw so much pressure by Orszag and the House leadership on CBO cheif Elmendorf, when Elmendorf put out candid CBO numbers on Obamacare he essentially was depriving the Dem’s from being able to invoke the weapon of”reconciliation.”

Dean is Either bluffing or the DNC is holding Elmendorf’s children in “an undisclosed secure location” in ransom against serious budget fudging.
Archimedes on August 17, 2009 at 7:54 PM

Has anyone seen Elmendorf’s kids recently?

Archimedes on October 8, 2009 at 12:55 PM

somebody needs to call in an alpha-strike on capitol hill with as many smart munitions as we have available-it will help one way or another- perferably at 8pm on a tuesday

TheVer on October 8, 2009 at 1:12 PM


I tell you what will work with Independents: a deficit that is 9.9% of GDP. Independents tend to get pretty upset about trillion dollar deficits and higher taxes.

Terrye on October 8, 2009 at 1:23 PM


I think you are a Moby. I really do.

Terrye on October 8, 2009 at 1:23 PM


TheVer on October 8, 2009 at 1:26 PM

So if I buy a 90K Porsche, marked down from 95K, then I am actually getting a better deal than if I bought the 25K Malibu?

Ris4victory on October 8, 2009 at 1:30 PM

The most ominous words you will hear from a politician; “We have to do something!”

Dasher on October 8, 2009 at 1:49 PM

Just want to clarify something…..THERE IS NO BAUCUS BILL !!!!

ne0365 on October 8, 2009 at 2:00 PM

Not sure why this is supposed to be good news. Deficit neutral or not, it’s still nearly a trillion dollars in increased spending(which means it will be 2 trillion plus). That money has to come from somewhere, and will most likely be stolen from others in the form of higher taxes. That’s 1 trillion(cough 2 trillion cough) dollars taken out of the private sector that won’t be available for job creation, innovation, new medical treatments, business start-ups, etc, that will instead go to deadbeats like AnninCa because they choose to spend their money elsewhere.

Man, do I hate libs. Is there anyone more ignorant, immoral, and despicable than the average liberal? A pox on all your houses, you freakin’ morons.

xblade on October 8, 2009 at 2:01 PM


I think you are a Moby. I really do.

Terrye on October 8, 2009 at 1:23 PM

Agreed…good call…

right2bright on October 8, 2009 at 2:11 PM

Meanwhile, Bob Dole puts the GOP on the back and urges them to sign

I connit express ecough my total contempt for Bob Dole.

His Americans with Disabilities Act, inspired because he had fuzzy feelings about himself and his struggles, has messed up our nation into a spider web of litagation. Businesses can no longer rent the store upstairs, because without an elevator they will be sued. I still see these vacant once great startup locations around my town. Our public buses had to install lifts for wheelchairs which at any stop can involve ten minutes delay to run the elevator, impeding the commute of the low income people who depend on the bus to get them to work. I have been on these buses, it is a mess and the maintenance on the systems exceeds the wealth of my location. His act changed the disabled into folk we fear, serve and avoid when possible.

Dole thought he deserved the Presidency as a reward for service, and got himself nominated as one more undesirable candidate to anyone except his buddies in the cloakroom

Now he focuses his nation destroying abilities on our healthcare system. The guy runs on feelings, not sense, and I am out of empathy

entagor on October 8, 2009 at 2:37 PM

Now compare it to H.R.3400…

right2bright on October 8, 2009 at 2:38 PM

Everyone go to the Headliner ‘There is no Baucus Bill’ to see how the left almost pulled off this sham of having the CBO score a bill that does not exist.

They gave the CBO a line about what they bill would ‘accomplish’ and the CBO cranked out numbers which were to be run to the press to prove the unwritten bill will save our nation

I cannot remember a greater fraud in an era of gigantic frauds and they almost pulled it off. Thanks to all the bloggers including Legal Insurrection, who are moving to get out the word.
The lying isn’t finished even on the CBO shell game.

I do not blame CBO at this stage, although I would like to find out if there were preliminary correspindances concerning the scoring of the unwritten package. Who moved first on this recent scoring, and what, exactly were they tabulating on?

We need to see the printout CBO used as their description of the Bill to do their scoring and we need to know who supplied that printout. We may never know if the CBO was engaged in feedback to clip or trim the base ‘legislation’ to get the numbers needed by the spinners to con the public

entagor on October 8, 2009 at 2:46 PM

Hey folks – THERE IS NO BILL

NO bill has been produced

How does the CBO analyze a non existent bill

bestweather on October 8, 2009 at 3:14 PM

The internet is alive with the sound of people analyzing the CBO’s “scoring” of the Max Baucus aka Senate Finance Committee Health Care Bill. Before everyone gets too deeply into their thoughts, please keep in mind the following (get ready, all CAPS, bold, indented signifies a really important concept):


The CBO scored the concepts described by the Baucus Committee. There is no legislative text. None. Baucus and his Democratic colleagues refused to reduce their concepts to actual legislation prior to a vote. Here is the CBO’s disclaimer:

CBO and JCT’s analysis is preliminary in large part because the Chairman’s mark, as amended, has not yet been embodied in legislative language.

The Baucus Concepts are disasterous, but that’s for another post. For this post, let me get across a simple concept: THERE IS NO BAUCUS BILL

Your esteemed Senators on the Senate Finance Committee will not be voting on legislation because THERE IS NO BAUCUS BILL.

Your esteemed Senators have so little respect for you that some of them are willing to vote in favor of legislation which does not exist because THERE IS NO BAUCUS BILL.

The actual legislation will be drafted in secret by Harry Reid and a few other people, including staffers whose names and political connections you never will know, and the resulting legislation will be rammed through the Senate and House before anyone gets to read and analyze it.

Months of debate mean nothing. It’s all smoke and mirrors by people who think you are too stupid to realize what is going on.

Have I made myself clear on this? THERE IS NO BAUCUS BILL.
h/t Legal Insurrection

Blacksmith8 on October 8, 2009 at 4:05 PM

Anyone lending me 2 million dollars will get 22 million back in 34 years. Please send your checks directly to me. If you want I will give you a preliminary summary of the first draft of the outline that will be used for the draft spreasheet that will identify the proposed income statement that is dependent on 56 different variables coming out exactly as I am guessing. But please send me the checks today as my first sentence should be sufficient proof for now that A.) I need the money and B.) I am predicting you will get it back

georgealbert on October 8, 2009 at 4:07 PM

Meanwhile, Bob Dole puts the GOP on the back and urges them to sign

Dole is 86 years old. I think he might be losing it. He also said a public option would be a disaster. So there you go…I don’t think he really even gets what they are doing up there.

Terrye on October 8, 2009 at 4:10 PM

Hey folks – THERE IS NO BILL

NO bill has been produced

How does the CBO analyze a non existent bill

bestweather on October 8, 2009 at 3:14 PM

Legal Insurrection agrees with you. THERE IS NO BILL

Blacksmith8 on October 8, 2009 at 4:20 PM

The ‘cost’ of the bill does not contain the costs to individuals and small business for the new mandate and assumes Congress really will cut medicare not just year one but every year in the future, which is a joke.

JIMV on October 8, 2009 at 4:37 PM