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CBO: Even When the President Empowers Bureaucrats to Cut Medicare, the House Bill Still Leads to Rivers of Red Ink

July 27, 2009

The non-partisan number crunchers at the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) were busy this weekend.  In addition to fending off partisan attacks from the White House, CBO released two key findings after Congress left town Friday.  The first concerned the President’s much ballyhooed Independent Medicare Advisory Commission (IMAC), while the second focused on the deficits caused by the House Democrats’ health care bill.

CBO, in a Saturday letter to Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), stated it was, “unlikely that IMAC would recommend substantial additional savings.”  In fact, when put in the context of the overall deficit increases of the House Democrats’ bill, the savings were virtually non-existent according to CBO.  The chart below shows how the deficits resulting from the Democrats’ health reform bill would change if IMAC was included in the House bill (yes, we know it is very difficult to discern the difference). In fact, the “savings” from the IMAC proposal would only reduce total spending in the bill by 0.1%, hardly the “game changer” IMAC was billed to be. 

CBO, in a Sunday letter to Ways and Means Ranking Member Dave Camp (R-MI), stated that the Democrats’ health care bill would, “generate substantial increases in federal budget deficits during the decade beyond the current 10-year budget window.”   This confirmation from CBO bolsters analysis by Ways and Means Republicans that, as the graph below shows, Democrats’ health care bill could cause a massive spike in the federal deficit – reaching as high as $1.6 trillion over the next 20 years.