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The Congressional Budget Office Gives Its Blessing to the Senate Finance Committee's Bill

The Congressional Budget Office rendered its verdict (pdf) on the Senate Finance Committee's bill this afternoon. In effect, the agency said the Senate Finance Committee can pass go, and can collect $200. The legislation is projected to cost $829 billion over 10 years, reduce the deficit by $81 billion and cover 94 percent of Americans. It also expects the deficit-reduction to accelerate in the second decade, cutting the total deficit by one-quarter to one-half percent of GDP.

That's about as good as the Finance Committee could've hoped for, and it means the legislation is likely to sail through committee next week. More as I read through the full score.

By Ezra Klein  |  October 7, 2009; 4:48 PM ET
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Next: Things to Worry About in the CBO's Score

Comments

"sail through committee next week"?

How about tomorrow!?

This is what Grassley said today:
______
Grassley predicted that the Senate Finance Committee would easily pass their version of healthcare reform if the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) claims, in their report expected today, it does not add to the federal deficit.

"If we get a score today -- early enough today, we'd have the bill done today," he said.

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/62039-grassley-no-shot-at-stopping-health-bill-without-centrist-dems


Vote on the bill at the latest by tomorrow. There is no excuse for further delay in the Finance committee.

Posted by: bgmnt | October 7, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

CBO acknowledges the "crap shoot" nature of its analysis by (this time) specifically including the sentence "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."

"If employers increase or decrease the amount of compensation they provide in the form of health insurance (relative to current-law projections), CBO and JCT assume that offsetting changes will occur in wages and other forms of compensation —which are generally taxable—to hold total compensation roughly the same."

So, CBO assumes an employer wouldn't take action to improve the bottom line of the company... best joke I've heard all day!!

Most businesses are likely to pay the fine, drop employee health insurance coverage, and leave wages unmodified. If businesses indeed do so, Federal deficit increases dramatically (or personal taxes must increase dramatically).

Finally, "Federal spending that would be funded by future appropriations is NOT REFLECTED in these estimates. For example, implementation costs for operations of the Internal Revenue Service and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are not included. Those discretionary costs could total SEVERAL BILLION dollars over the 10-year period, but CBO has not yet completed an estimate of the appropriations that would be necessary."

Posted by: rmgregory | October 7, 2009 6:52 PM | Report abuse

The Massachusetts experience shows that the cost of subsidies will be far higher than initially expected.

How is the government going to maintain the 8% affordability exemption without downgrading the quality of insurance to junk? Can't be done.

Posted by: bmull | October 7, 2009 10:47 PM | Report abuse

I love the way Congress can write into law their own economic projections and then CBO has to use their numbers.

The Finance Committee bill states that Medicare spending "will not" be allowed to grow more than GDP + 1% after 2019.

Health Care spending including Medicare was projected to grow much more than that in the ten years after 2019 (and more than likely still will) but as far as CBO is concerned as long as those words are in the bill and it takes an act of a future Congress to change it ... then they calculate that spending in the second decade will be lower than it otherwise would have been.

Why don't the just pass a law that all Health Spending will only grow at CPI then we wouldn't need a Health Reform bill at all.

Posted by: cautious | October 8, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

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