CBO Confirms Health Bill Neutrality and Batman to the Rescue? Waxman confirms it’s not true!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I’ve been avidly following the health care debate going on in congress and as early as Sunday the 19th I’ve been finding all sorts of stories on the internet about how the CBO has confirmed that the current Health Plan in congress is deficit neutral.

I was shocked, so I went to the CBO website to confirm their findings. All I could find was their July 17th report showing that the current bill still caused a $239 billion deficit.

The Chart of the CBO Scoring Below

If the stories about the CBO confirming deficit neutrality were true, the major news outlets were ignoring it on Monday. All the articles I found were still touting how the CBO director sunk Obama’s “we must curb the health cost curve” rhetoric. With no viable leads to solve the mystery, I chalked it up to news media misprints. After all Orszag is out there saying the bill is deficit neutral and he used to be the head of the CBO before joining team Obama.

It was Nameless Cynic, of all commenters (hat tip to Nameless), who was able to point me in the right direction. Last night Henry "the Batman" Waxman posted “CBO Scores Confirms Deficit Neutrality of Health Reform Bill” on the Committee on Energy and Commerce’s website. Not only is it neutral, Waxman is confirming that there is a $6 billion surplus. Clearly, the headline cannot be mistaken. Plus, who can dispute the accuracy of the Honorable Henry Waxman? Still I couldn’t reconcile the CBO study showing a deficit of $239 billion. Was there another scoring done that was not released? If so, how in the world could they justify being off $245 billion in less than a week? Then it all started making sense once I read the last two sentences from Congressman Waxman.

“The bill's long-term reform of Medicare's physician fee schedule to eliminate the potential 21 percent cut in fees, and put payments on a sustainable basis for the future, will cost about $245 billion. Those costs, however, are not included in the net calculations above, as they will be absorbed under the upcoming statutory "pay go" legislation that is pending in the House.”

Here is the Math in case you wondered:

$239 billion deficit from Health Bill
-$245 billion reduction in costs from magical Pay-Go bill that is “pending”
Equals $6 billion dollar surplus

So, the CBO has not created any new scoring. Waxman simply, “verbally” removed the troublesome budget deficit in the amount of $239 billion from the CBO scoring on the idea that there is some other bill that is going to fix it all. I understand that in the politics today the word trillion is thrown around as if we had trillion dollar denominations floating around in everyone’s pockets (maybe one day this is true), but $239 billion is still quite literally a very large amount of cheese to cut threw via program cuts or taxes. The $239 billion figure is almost exactly one quarter of the cost of Obama’s overall health plan. Earlier this year Obama proposed small cuts to the tune of $17 billion and congress rejected them before the ink dried on the newspapers. I wonder why they’ve decided to work the amount needed to cover the deficit into another bill and not the health bill so that the CBO could actually deem the bill deficit neutral?

To answer the question of whether the CBO has scored the health bill deficit neutral; according to Waxman the answer is No! I would like to thank Batman for coming to the rescue and ensuring that the title of his committee's post was not misleading in any shape or form (*sarcasm*).

On a side note, deficit neutrality is nice, but not the big issue here. Deficit neutrality is not what the Director of the CBO meant when he said that the health bill did not have “the sort of fundamental changes necessary to rein in the skyrocketing cost of government health programs.” Tomorrow I'm planning on posting the truth about the cost curve debate over health care reform, so please remember to stop by.
Update #1: Democratic Rep-MO Carnahan gets laughed at for trying to repeat what Waxman has debunked.

Update #2:
Looks like AP has finally caught up with me. Just remember I out scooped them by 10 hours.


blackandgoldfan said...

Sorry, but no matter how much they spin the numbers, it is still all about the governmental control.

Nameless did bring up a good quote from Jesus. In a free market economy where people keep more of the money they earn, they decide what charities to fund. It used to be that people helped others purely because it was the right thing to do. Now, with the ever-increasing taxes, it's hard to help others as much, and charities are feeling the pinch. Couple that with those who just want something for nothing, and the charities are in even more trouble.

Whose place is it to tell me that I have to help illegal aliens get healthcare? It sure as hell isn't the government's place.

July 21, 2009 at 6:55 PM
Purple Crayon said...

Why am I LAUGHING? The gall which Waxman has shown here is shocking, and is seriously making me laugh, because who shows that kind of bravado in their speech? But he is lying and misleading us, and the media and the American people are buying it, and this is not funny in any way shape or form. Why are you not working for a major media news outlet? Or more importantly, why has none of them bothered to puzzle through this and find this glaring dissimulation!

July 21, 2009 at 7:19 PM

@ Blackandgoldfan - They certainly will try. I've just posted in update #2 that the AP has finally officially blown the lid off this farce.

@ Purple Crayon - Cool handle! Thanks, I'm not sure I deserve all your praise. AP shows that the intention of this lie was a headline blitz. Hoping people will read that the health care bill is deficit neutral without actually verifying the truth. If you know of any major media outlets looking for a writer. I'm very available, but I won't hold my breath. Please stop by again!

July 21, 2009 at 10:40 PM

I have one more correction for you. The honorable Henry Waxman's nicname is not Batman...it is Nostrilis Nostrilidamus

I also think he looks like Porky Pig, and a little like an Orc from LOTR.

July 22, 2009 at 9:28 AM
Andrew33 said...

C-GEN, how would you like a turn to fill in for me tomorrow? I have to rest my concussion damaged brain and stay off the meds that turbo-charge my brain for a week or so. It is best for my brain to heal if do small posts or better yet, none at all. You are a good writer whom I have tons of respect for. You can do any subject you want, no rules except standard blog etiquette (no hard core porn or drug use basically). I know, that those rules are labyrinthine but I know you are sophisticated enough to get by, right? Bunni got to guest post today, and I was going to as B&G fan to go Friday and I will be back to running at 150% by Saturday.

July 22, 2009 at 4:03 PM

@ KOOK - I'm not budging from my opinion that he resembles a bat.

@ Andrew - sounds cool, although I want to make sure I have time. When do you need it by? And how should I send it to you?

July 22, 2009 at 5:36 PM
Nameless Cynic said...

It was Nameless Cynic, of all commenters (hat tip to Nameless)

No problem. Glad to have been of service.

Answer's a little lengthy - I'll cough it out (much in the manner of a chihuahua-sized hairball) over on my side of the web this weekend.

July 23, 2009 at 7:50 AM

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