CBO: You can’t spend the same dollars twice

posted at 12:15 pm on December 23, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

The new bill from Harry Reid on ObamaCare asserts that the $500 billion in cuts to Medicare can simultaneously be counted as savings for future Medicare outlays while funding all of the expenses of covering millions of uninsured immediately.  Sen. Jeff Sessions asked the CBO if Reid could actually use the same dollars twice for two separate purposes at two separate times.  The answer is, unsurprisingly, no (via Yid with Lid, emphasis mine):

CBO has been asked for additional information about the projected effects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), incorporating the manager’s amendment, on the federal budget and on the balance in the Hospital Insurance (HI) trust fund, from which Medicare Part A benefits are paid. Specifically, CBO has been asked whether the reductions in projected Part A outlays and increases in projected HI revenues under the legislation can provide additional resources to pay future Medicare benefits while simultaneously providing resources to pay for new programs outside of Medicare. …

The key point is that the savings to the HI trust fund under the PPACA would be received by the government only once, so they cannot be set aside to pay for future Medicare spending and, at the same time, pay for current spending on other parts of the legislation or on other programs. Trust fund accounting shows the magnitude of the savings within the trust fund, and those savings indeed improve the solvency of that fund; however, that accounting ignores the burden that would be faced by the rest of the government later in redeeming the bonds held by the trust fund. Unified budget accounting shows that the majority of the HI trust fund savings would be used to pay for other spending under the PPACA and would not enhance the ability of the government to redeem the bonds credited to the trust fund to pay for future Medicare benefits. To describe the full amount of HI trust fund savings as both improving the government’s ability to pay future Medicare benefits and financing new spending outside of Medicare would essentially double-count a large share of those savings and thus overstate the improvement in the government’s fiscal position.

This punches a huge hole in two arguments from Democrats.  First, they have assured people that cutting $500 billion from Medicare will only cut “waste, fraud, and abuse,” which certainly could have been addressed without overhauling the nation’s health-care market.  They insist that people will not see a reduction in benefits in the future in Medicare, and that these cuts strengthen the system for the future.  The CBO’s letter shows that cuts to the budget will have to result in cuts to the system and benefits if Congress intends on using the money to pay for other efforts.

The second argument to die on this report is the supposed deficit neutrality of ObamaCare.  When people start seeing their benefits reduced, Congress will almost certainly start rescinding the cuts — which is why Reid tried pre-empting that option by putting IMAB decisions out of reach.  Congress will wind up spending money on both restoring the cuts and the coverage that got funded by them, which will create a deficit-spending explosion, and that assumes that the bill wouldn’t have created that anyway.

It’s nothing more than a shell game.  Harry Reid hoped that his attempt to use the same money in two different applications would sneak past the CBO, but Sessions made sure that Reid’s flim-flam got exposed.

Here’s the video of the press conference, once again via YWL:


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Foiled again.

BobMbx on December 23, 2009 at 12:19 PM

Reid’s math skills: B+

BadgerHawk on December 23, 2009 at 12:19 PM

Yes you can. In Obama land anything is possible man.

promachus on December 23, 2009 at 12:19 PM

“Exposed” to whom? The headlines on Comcast and local tv news keep repeating the lie about ‘deficit cuts’

This thing needs to be stopped or repealed or tossed out in court–or we’re all Royally Screwed

Janos Hunyadi on December 23, 2009 at 12:20 PM

I guess I am now beyond outrage and flabbergastment.

OmahaConservative on December 23, 2009 at 12:20 PM

ENRON accounting.

lorien1973 on December 23, 2009 at 12:20 PM

There will not be any money left in this fund when the bills come due on 2014. I am not surprised no one else thinks this. The dems think they will still be in power and use the money that is supposed to be paying the bills on all these bribes and stuff and put in the account an IOU. Just like SSI. I think this is where Scary is counting the dollars twice. That money that should be set aside wont.

Brat4life on December 23, 2009 at 12:21 PM

First, they have assured people that cutting $500 billion from Medicare will only cut “waste, fraud, and abuse,” which certainly could have been addressed without overhauling the nation’s health-care market.

I wish this point had gotten more play last summer and fall.

I guess President Obama has been too busy golfing for 11 months to cut all that waste out of the system.

BadgerHawk on December 23, 2009 at 12:21 PM

Nice of the CBO to show a little integrity. Now that it’s too late.

Reid and his goons have already trumpeted the “this will save money!” meme previously thrown out there by CBO, and the MSM has dutifully (and unquestioningly) picked it up.

This is the same as “revised” housing/jobs/economic figures. Put the lie in place first and shout it out loudly, then whisper more accurate numbers.

You think this is a big deal, Ed?

Unless the result is some real action (and that would be a first!), it’s just more useless sitting-in-the-parlor political chit-chat.

MrScribbler on December 23, 2009 at 12:22 PM

CBO has been asked for additional information about the projected effects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)

Or as I like to call it, Pee pee ca ca.

It’s a pile of manure and should be flushed.

UltimateBob on December 23, 2009 at 12:22 PM

Why do I have visions of Obama bitterly saying

“And I would have gotten away with it too if it weren’t for you meddling kids.”

highhopes on December 23, 2009 at 12:22 PM

i wonder if dear leader will continue touting the cbo report…

heh

cmsinaz on December 23, 2009 at 12:22 PM

Go Sessions. Keep exposing all the lies and fraud that are being used to prop up the pretense of this POS bill as being “deficit neutral.”

AZCoyote on December 23, 2009 at 12:23 PM

So if I spend $25 less on gifts for my two kids and buy my wife something for $50, I have saved $50.

I need to make sure my wife does not hear about this type of accounting, I really do not want to hear how much money she saved throughout next year.

WashJeff on December 23, 2009 at 12:23 PM

Alabama coming to the rescue.

mankai on December 23, 2009 at 12:23 PM

Sessions 2012!

mankai on December 23, 2009 at 12:23 PM

Perfectly acceptable by the standards of left-wing math.

Track-A-'Crat on December 23, 2009 at 12:23 PM

HEY! With Obamanomics, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE. Including counting the same money twice. After all, WE’RE GONNA SPEND OUR WAY TO PROSPERITY.

GarandFan on December 23, 2009 at 12:25 PM

Obama: “We are on the precipice of making Obama care fiscally sound.”

csdeven on December 23, 2009 at 12:26 PM

We have to get rid of these facts…they keep getting in the way…next thing you know, some liberal will actually read them and understand that facts trump faith.

right2bright on December 23, 2009 at 12:27 PM

Then there’s the little surprise for small construction companies and who knows how many other intended and unintended consequences.

Good on Sessions for bringing it up but I fear none of it really matters at the moment. Don’t try to distract them with facts. It’s time to plan for 2010.

Drained Brain on December 23, 2009 at 12:28 PM

Someone should force the Sin City Schmuck to go on the floor of the Senate right now and prove how B.O.-care is going to save all this money over the course of time. And I mean ACTUALLY make him prove it!

pilamaye on December 23, 2009 at 12:28 PM

I was starting a run down of what I am going to have to do for taxes this year (yeah I am one of those people) and thought… WTF am I doing? If ObamaCare passes it may change the tax structure even possibly this early.

I hate Reid, I really do.

upinak on December 23, 2009 at 12:29 PM

It is Enron accounting and absolutely meaningless. This stuff absolutely has to be exposed. I believe people are finally starting to listen.

ORconservative on December 23, 2009 at 12:29 PM

I need to make sure my wife does not hear about this type of accounting, I really do not want to hear how much money she saved throughout next year.

WashJeff on December 23, 2009 at 12:23 PM

Heh.

BadgerHawk on December 23, 2009 at 12:29 PM

Ruh-roh.

I think this is a big deal. Obama himself promised that he would not sign a health care bill unless it is deficit-neutral. Several Blue Dogs in the House and moderate Dem Senators made similar promises to their constituents.

This may be the real reason the White House is leaking that they won’t have a bill done until Februsary. This is a big-ass mistake that will take them some time to fix.

rockmom on December 23, 2009 at 12:29 PM

Drained Brain on December 23, 2009 at 12:28 PM

small construction aka anyone who owns a business including myself.

upinak on December 23, 2009 at 12:30 PM

But! But! I just got an email from democrat hack Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) telling me this bill would save real money and increase services at the same time and that I should be thankful she’s “working for” me!!!

SouthernGent on December 23, 2009 at 12:31 PM

But! But! I just got an email from democrat hack Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) telling me this bill would save real money and increase services at the same time and that I should be thankful she’s “working for” me!!!

SouthernGent on December 23, 2009 at 12:31 PM

She just copied that from Joe Courtney cause I just got the exact same email from him.

Johnnyreb on December 23, 2009 at 12:32 PM

Fuzzy math. FAIL!

GFW on December 23, 2009 at 12:34 PM

The Death Angel without cloak

bluegrass on December 23, 2009 at 12:35 PM

Ideology above truth. Accounting reality doesn’t matter when you’re trying to fulfill your marxist dreams.

ClanDerson on December 23, 2009 at 12:36 PM

Shouldn’t the CBO have figured this out without Sessions having to ask them about it? It seems something like this should be obvious to people who do this for a living.

Mark1971 on December 23, 2009 at 12:36 PM

Don’t worry. Ø will be scheduling a second deficit and responsible budgeting summit any day now.

CK MacLeod on December 23, 2009 at 12:36 PM

Why all the fuss. Let me be clear-we are going to cut out 500M, insure an additional 40M and save money. Where is the problem?

rjoco1 on December 23, 2009 at 12:36 PM

It’s truly offensive, because we know what the dems are doing, and even more galling, because they know exactly what they’re doing. The worst part….they don’t care. It’s ALL about getting that bill out there, and making themselves into something they will NEVER be.

Heroes, for saving our skins by controlling our health, lives, and freedoms. Cause you know….we’re to stupid to think for ourselves.

capejasmine on December 23, 2009 at 12:38 PM

Shouldn’t the CBO have figured this out without Sessions having to ask them about it? It seems something like this should be obvious to people who do this for a living.

Mark1971 on December 23, 2009 at 12:36 PM

It probably was obvious, and reported…but then Rahm was brought in, slapping a dead fish into the palm of his hand, as he glared at all those who work in the CBO.

capejasmine on December 23, 2009 at 12:39 PM

New math at its best.

chemman on December 23, 2009 at 12:39 PM

Prediction as the Dems put together the 2011 budget, they will claim they cut the budget 40% from 2009 (i.e., 1.2T to $850), the biggest reduction of the budget deficit in US history.

WashJeff on December 23, 2009 at 12:41 PM

Good Lord, where are the trolls this morning? I’m dying to hear their explanation for this.

Knucklehead on December 23, 2009 at 12:44 PM

[The Democrats] have assured people that cutting $500 billion from Medicare will only cut “waste, fraud, and abuse” ….

Seriously, if it’s so easy, then why haven’t they already done that?

Blacksheep on December 23, 2009 at 12:44 PM

First the vote-selling and now this. “massive fiscal irresponsibility”???? In the private sector, it’s called fraud. Why the different lexicon for government? This lexical lily-gilding has got to stop if ever the government is going to be held accountable to the people who elect them to represent their interests.

ProfessorMiao on December 23, 2009 at 12:46 PM

Reid’s math skills: B+

BadgerHawk on December 23, 2009 at 12:19 PM

New math.

Johan Klaus on December 23, 2009 at 12:46 PM

Somebody needs to expose these idiots to every sane person in this country . . . in clear simple language that everyone can understand. The left are skilled liars so every word they say must be challenge.

rplat on December 23, 2009 at 12:47 PM

Sessions: A+.

LastRick on December 23, 2009 at 12:47 PM

Good Lord, where are the trolls this morning? I’m dying to hear their explanation for this.

Knucklehead on December 23, 2009 at 12:44 PM

Yeah! Where’s Jimbo? He spins the most elaborate lies when it comes to how all this fraud makes perfect sense.

highhopes on December 23, 2009 at 12:47 PM

Racists.

rogerb on December 23, 2009 at 12:48 PM

MSM
*crickets*

cmsinaz on December 23, 2009 at 12:49 PM

The CBO will never make Dems understand this.

Hey, all they know is people vote early and often, and dead people can rise from the grave to cast a ballot.

Cody1991 on December 23, 2009 at 12:49 PM

need to make sure my wife does not hear about this type of accounting, I really do not want to hear how much money she saved throughout next year.

WashJeff on December 23, 2009 at 12:23 PM

” We already have one”. “But, it was on sale”.

Johan Klaus on December 23, 2009 at 12:50 PM

Why didn’t CBO catch this the first time through?

What else did they “miss”?

forest on December 23, 2009 at 12:50 PM

New-old math.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bfq5kju627c

mrt721 on December 23, 2009 at 12:51 PM

The CBO will never make Dems understand this.

Hey, all they know is people vote early and often, and dead people can rise from the grave to cast a ballot.

Cody1991 on December 23, 2009 at 12:49 PM

The democrats don’t care. They just want a piece of legislation, any kind of legislation, so they can say it was historic and the half-White dude with no father can say it was all about him.

SouthernGent on December 23, 2009 at 12:51 PM

Harry’s house of corruption.

And nanny peloser, hey why didn’t I think of that.

tarpon on December 23, 2009 at 12:52 PM

So Obamacare will cost the government more money, and the populace more money, lead to cut backs in service, and greatly increase the national debt.

But it will cover illegals.

What’s not to love?

18-1 on December 23, 2009 at 12:52 PM

I saw the following quote on another blog this morning and thought it precisely defined this communist healthcare aberration Reid, Pelosi and Obama are shoving down the throats of every American:

“ObamaCare: You Can Have Anything You Want, As Long As It’s What The Government Says You Can Have”

rplat on December 23, 2009 at 12:53 PM

Not Boolean math but Obamian math. It all makes sense if you take psychotropic drugs.

As one of my artillery instructors used to say when we gave the wrong answer, “You’re smokin’ dope.”

Mojave Mark on December 23, 2009 at 12:54 PM

You mean to tell me that putting more regulations, more mandates, and more demand will not cost less?

NO WAY!

jukin on December 23, 2009 at 12:55 PM

Dr appointment 100$, Medicine 75$ Dems health care bill priceless.Don,t you little people worry about this spending the same dollars twice .We will just tax a few more millionaires more and it want cost you a dime more.Just trust us.Don,t worry about me the evil one is that republican behind that tree.

thmcbb on December 23, 2009 at 12:56 PM

rplat on December 23, 2009 at 12:53 PM

perfect!

cmsinaz on December 23, 2009 at 12:56 PM

OBAMA IS SANTA…..WE ARE BUDDY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NY4bUP48RE8

A THRONE OF LIES!!!!!!!!

PappyD61 on December 23, 2009 at 12:56 PM

The democrats don’t care. They just want a piece of legislation, any kind of legislation, so they can say it was historic and the half-White dude with no father can say it was all about him.

SouthernGent on December 23, 2009 at 12:51 PM

Indeed. It’s all about giving Wittle Barry something to crow about during his SOTU speech. Why not? The guy always gets something with little effort or initiative on his part.

Cody1991 on December 23, 2009 at 12:56 PM

And they wanted to ram this up our tailpipe in AUGUST!!!!

Bruce in NH on December 23, 2009 at 12:56 PM

“Exposed” to whom? The headlines on Comcast and local tv news keep repeating the lie about ‘deficit cuts’

This thing needs to be stopped or repealed or tossed out in court–or we’re all Royally Screwed

Janos Hunyadi on December 23, 2009 at 12:20 PM

Unfortunately, that may be the worst thing that could happen. Glenn Beck said a couple of weeks ago that this bill without the public option could lead to single-payer faster than anything else.

He said that if this is taken to court because it is unconstitutional for the government to force people to buy something from a private company, the government would then say, “Okay, well then we’ll just have to provide the product to the people ourselves.”

MobileVideoEngineer on December 23, 2009 at 12:57 PM

I couldn’t be prouder that Jeff Sessions is my senator.

Bugler on December 23, 2009 at 1:00 PM

Bernie Madoff sitting in prison is saying to himself .My God i stole a few billion and i am in jail for the rest of my life.These guys steal trillions and are praise by the news media as saints and get paid and have private planes to fly on.

thmcbb on December 23, 2009 at 1:04 PM

Is there no end to this Kabuki theatre?

The cost of Health care reform is meaningless. Health care reform has nothing whatsoever to do with Health care. The Dems know this, the Repubs know this and the average thinking adult knows this. It is no accident that the polls are decidedly against this bill.

The more the bill costs the better a bill it is from the Dem perspective. Higher costs means higher taxes and more government control. Say hello to my little friend in a few years—VAT.

patrick neid on December 23, 2009 at 1:05 PM

Sure they can count the money twice…have the printing presses been turned off or broken down…there is unlimited amount of paper to print that money again…

JIMV on December 23, 2009 at 1:10 PM

Starting to look like a giant shell game.

Kissmygrits on December 23, 2009 at 1:21 PM

Why sugar coat it?

It’s fraud. Deliberate fraud.

The criminals who knew about it should go to jail.

notagool on December 23, 2009 at 1:27 PM

If they magically found a way to make all health care/insurance in the U.S. cheaper, higher quality, and more available to more people – but still enslaved every citizen as this bill does – it would be just as wrong.

Congress has no right even to be talking about interfering in private transactions where no one’s rights have been violated.

JDPerren on December 23, 2009 at 1:27 PM

Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Dick Durbin, Chris Dodd, Barney Frank and crew would look really nice in orange jumpsuits. Don’t you think?

TXMomof3 on December 23, 2009 at 1:28 PM

I wonder – What FOO (uh, That’s Friend Of Obama) will become America’s first Trillionaire?

TimBuk3 on December 23, 2009 at 1:35 PM

That is going to be one heck of a bumper sticker…if it doesn’t fit, then a liberal and most voters won’t understand or care…
*
Question: How many more of these horrible, bill changing errors are there, but because of this rush to vote, they won’t be identified? How many more billions of “mistakes” are hidden away?

right2bright on December 23, 2009 at 1:38 PM

How about instead of lawyers, we elect some engineers to Congress?

crosspatch on December 23, 2009 at 1:47 PM

How about instead of lawyers, we elect some engineers to Congress?

crosspatch on December 23, 2009 at 1:47 PM

Ugggh! No thanks, we did that for our mayor last year and now we are stuck with the. WORST. MAYOR. EVER.

OmahaConservative on December 23, 2009 at 2:02 PM

Reid: “And I would have gotten away with it if it hadn’t been for you meddling kids angry old white men.”

Kafir on December 23, 2009 at 2:08 PM

rockmom on December 23, 2009 at 12:29 PM

I hope everyone who has a Blue Dog Democrat as a Senator or House member is emailing them this article because it sounds like (according to another thread) that many of the Blue Dogs are ready in the House to vote yes on the Senate version.

I, unfortunately have Bean, Burris, Durbin, and Quinn- 4 riders of the apocalypse in other words.

journeyintothewhirlwind on December 23, 2009 at 2:19 PM

Sessions nails Reid to the wall on Reid’s math.

An outstanding catch.

I just checked: this is a troll-free thread.

Nice math, trolls. Rather than taking social-justice courses in college, conservatives include, among other things, history, science, English, and mathematics.

BuckeyeSam on December 23, 2009 at 2:19 PM

How about instead of lawyers, we elect some engineers only those who can prove private-sector employment of at least five to ten years to Congress?

crosspatch on December 23, 2009 at 1:47 PM

FIFY.

BuckeyeSam on December 23, 2009 at 2:23 PM

Just tell the CBO that they intend to cut 3 trillion in Medicare and we solve the budget deficit. And my girlfriend is Morgan Fairchild.

barnone on December 23, 2009 at 2:26 PM

Naah, the CBO didn’t get the message from Obama’s speech last month.

Saying you can’t spend the same dollar twice is a “false choice” that these Republicans and naysayers run. It’s like saying you can’t both save the TARP money to lower the deficit, and spend it all on things that might create jobs.

Obama knows you can do both, by spending that dollar twice. He’s that magical, and claiming otherwise has already been titled a false choice.

Other false choices, like the entire study of mathematics are still be reworked to handle this new information.

gekkobear on December 23, 2009 at 2:30 PM

Gotta see this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dc_-L4fyLUo

Hilarious and on the nose!

UnderstandingisPower on December 23, 2009 at 2:42 PM

Big deal. OB can spend 1/2 $T while he cleans his finger nails.

burt on December 23, 2009 at 3:12 PM

Does this mean that he will save twice as much and reduce the deficit by twice, too.

Kissmygrits on December 23, 2009 at 9:43 PM

So, what does this “revelation” do to the underlying bill, then? How much more does the price tag increase? Does it increase the amount by the whole ~$500 billion, or is it less?

And yes, why didn’t CBO catch this earlier?

Patriot Vet on January 2, 2010 at 12:22 PM