Report: CBO set to score House reconciliation fix as more expensive than thought

posted at 5:59 pm on March 16, 2010 by Allahpundit

If you’re wondering why it’s taking them so long to show this bill to the public, wonder no longer. They’re caught in a tangle of benchmarks here: Per The One’s instructions, they need the total package to cost not much more than $900 billion over the first 10 years — according to their own bogus metric, of course — and in order to use reconciliation in the Senate, they need the “fix” to produce savings of at least $1 billion. Oh, and they need to figure out a way to do that essentially by tomorrow if they want to try to vote on this thing by Saturday.

Do note: All of those requirements are politically, not substantively, motivated, including the reconciliation process necessitated by bypassing Scott Brown’s 41st vote. We’re long, long past the point here of crafting the best possible bill to reform health care. All they’re doing now is looking for something that can pass and that can be sold, kinda sorta, as “fiscally responsible.”

A story from Congressional Quarterly reports:..

“Rank-and-file Democrats did not talk about the details, but said that the CBO scores [of the House reconciliation bill] had come up short. ‘They were less than expected’ in terms of deficit reduction, said Rep. Gene Green, D-Texas, who plans to vote for the bill.”…

There are several things that Democrats are up against when it comes to the CBO score. The most important is that, based on reconciliation instructions, the “fix” bill must be shown to reduce the deficit by at least $1 billion. The challenge is, that’s after assuming that the Senate bill is law. In other words, the reconciliation bill can’t claim any of the deficit reduction from the Senate bill, but rather it must reduce the deficit relative to the Senate bill. Yet the changes that are being talked about will cost a lot of money. This includes eliminating the “Cornhusker kickback” and offering enhanced Medicaid subsidies to all states, increasing subsidies for the purchase of insurance, eliminating the so-called “donut hole” on Medicare prescription drug benefits, and whatever else they put in the bill. At the same time, delaying until 2018 the enactment of the “Cadillac tax” would be scored as a reduction in revenue, and thus add further to the deficit. They’d have to make up the gap through tax increases as well as try to siphon “savings” away from the student loan bill. (More on that here.) But evidently it seems like they’re running into trouble on this front.

Since they’re willing to delay the start of O-Care by several years to create a completely phony impression of how much it’ll cost, why not delay it by an extra year or two? Then it’ll cost even “less”! And why not scale back the “Cadillac tax” exemption to raise some extra deficit-reducing revenue? I’m sure the unions won’t mind; they’re threatening to (giggle) primary Democrats who vote no, you know.

You guys know I’m all about the optimism so I’ll leave you with this: “If President (Barack) Obama and the Democrats repeat the mistake of the health insurance reform adopted here in Massachusetts on a national level, they will threaten to wipe out the American economy within four years.” Does that hold true even if we reduce premiums by three thousand percent?

Update: If they can’t get the numbers to work by tomorrow, is that the final crack in the dam for wavering Dems?


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Scott Johnson cites from the Boston Globe:

Tim Cahill is the state treasurer of Massachusetts. He recently bolted the Democratic Party to run for governor. The Boston Globe reports Cahill’s pointed comments on Obamacare as with a local twist:

State Treasurer Timothy P. Cahill, an independent candidate for governor, today offered a wide-ranging and scathing criticism of the state’s universal health care law, saying it is bankrupting Massachusetts and will do the same nationally, if a similar plan is passed in Congress.

“If President Obama and the Democrats repeat the mistake of the health insurance reform here in Massachusetts on a national level, they will threaten to wipe out the American economy within four years,” Cahill said in a press conference in his office.

Echoing criticism leveled by Congressional Republicans in recent weeks, Cahill said, “It is time for the president, the Democratic leadership, to go back to the drawing board and come up with a new plan that does not threaten to bankrupt this country.”

Cahill, who bolted the Democratic Party in July, has been a long-time critic of the state’s health insurance law. He said he was calling today’s press conference to respond to Governor Deval Patrick’s accusation last week that he and other gubernatorial candidates have been “missing in action” in tackling health care concerns.

Cahill said it is the governor who has not done enough to lower costs imposed by the state’s health insurance law, which Cahill said “has nearly bankrupted the state.”

Cahill said the law is being sustained only with the help of federal aid, which he suggested that the Obama administration is funneling to Massachusetts to help the president make the case for a similar plan in Congress.

“The real problem is the sucking sound of money that has been going in to pay for this health care reform,” Cahill said. “And I would argue that we’re being propped up so that the federal government and the Obama administration can drive it through” Congress.

Commonwealth Connector, the independent state agency established to help residents find the health insurance, has “totally failed,” to create competition and connect people with affordable insurance, Cahill said, pointing out that 68 percent of the residents it serves receive subsidized care.

“We haven’t done anything about driving down costs,” Cahill said. “We haven’t helped small business. We haven’t changed the way we pay for health care and the way we deliver it.”

onlineanalyst on March 16, 2010 at 7:59 PM

Cahill said the law is being sustained only with the help of federal aid, which he suggested that the Obama administration is funneling to Massachusetts to help the president make the case for a similar plan in Congress.

Well as long as it’s a state option, then that’s totally different from–WHOA!!

Chris_Balsz on March 16, 2010 at 8:15 PM

Why is the CongressionalQuarterly link, which is the source of this story no longer available?

Did obama get to them?

RWGinger on March 16, 2010 at 8:44 PM

BBBBBBuuuuutttttt who’s gonna tell the President?

yoda on March 16, 2010 at 8:55 PM

I don’t know if Obama realizes how ridiculous this sounds.
INC on March 16, 2010 at 6:27 PM

Que?
It doesn’t sound ridiculous at all…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..If your 10 years old!

DSchoen on March 16, 2010 at 9:35 PM

Not only do they not understand what they’re saying, they don’t care.
This is not about health care, it’s about the socialists taking over.

n0doz on March 16, 2010 at 11:53 PM

They’re caught in a tangle of benchmarks here: Per The One’s instructions, they need the total package to cost not much more than $900 billion over the first 10 years — according to their own bogus metric, of course — and in order to use reconciliation in the Senate, they need the “fix” to produce savings of at least $1 billion.

If they can’t find 0.1% in savings for a pork-ladened bill, how on earth are they going to NOT blow the savings with more must-haves in next year’s “fixes” and the year after? Afterall, when we’re talking a tril, what’s a few hundred billions every year from here on out? And they castigated Dubya for blowing Slick’s “surplus” of what, 250 billion? A paper surplus to say the least.

AH_C on March 16, 2010 at 11:58 PM

Yep, about 2 trillion short. My assumption is the Democrat caucus is full of Stalin-esque useful idiots for Obammunism, they will find a way to lie.

The new norm for Obammunism is lies all the time, about everything. It’s a sad thing to see a USA president descend to these depths.

Character, something you will never associate with Obama and his czars. Hey did you know, we now have a new pipeline czar, to shut down new pipeline construction I suppose.

tarpon on March 17, 2010 at 8:25 AM

Why is the CongressionalQuarterly link, which is the source of this story no longer available?

What do you think? Always copy the source locally … The new norm for Obammunism, lies all the time about everything. Think Chavez.

tarpon on March 17, 2010 at 8:27 AM

The Pipeline czar referenced earlier is to stop or get credit for AGIA…Palin is living in O’s head…he wants to do anything to take that away from her.

Bikerchick on March 17, 2010 at 12:12 PM

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