Orszag vs. the CBO: Round Two
Peter Orszag and the Office of Management and Budget have fired another shot at the Congressional Budget Office this morning, releasing a letter signed by an assemblage of health-care wonks all of whom believe that Orszag's Independent Medicare Advisory Council could save some serious money. But that's not all! Nine of the signatories to the letter are members of the CBO's panel of health-care policy advisers. That's not quite half -- the panel has 21 people -- but it's enough to show that there's some serious support for Orszag's proposal (or, more precisely, a beefed-up version of Orszag's proposal) even among the people the CBO considers experts.
All that said, it's a bit hard to say what this means in the broader context of health-care reform. For all the sound and the fury over the CBO's estimates, none of them have actually been very surprising, or even particularly bad. The administration might want to focus on whether health-care reform has the potential to save money in the long term, but the big question is whether people are willing to fund the coverage expansion in the short term. Speculative savings over the next few decades will never seem more concrete than guaranteed costs over the next 10 years.
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