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A Disingenuous CBO Report

by jordan forbes / /

As a lead-up to Wednesday’s health care repeal vote, many of you may have heard assertions that repeal would increase the deficit by $145 billion. This false claim comes from a recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report on H.R. 2, “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act.” Fortunately, numerous experts have spoken up on why this is not the case, and why it’s imperative that Congress follow through with repeal if they do in fact want to reduce long-term deficits.   

To be clear, I’m not knocking the CBO. They do good work, but the very nature of that work requires assumptions and a need to take the information they are given at face value.  

Please take a look at this must-read National Review piece by former CBO Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin (one of the aforementioned experts). Holtz-Eakin says we should not blame CBO, but rather “Garbage In, Garbage Out,” budgeting that forces CBO to “incorporate a wide range of budget gimmicks in their original estimate of the health care law.”

Want specific examples of these budget gimmicks? According to Mr. Holtz-Eakin, CBO was provided information (from the former Congressional Majority) that forced them to:

  • Leave out $115 billion in funding needed to implement the bill;
  • Double-count $521 billion in Social Security payroll taxes ($53 billion), CLASS Act premiums ($70 billion), and Medicare cuts ($398 billion);
  • Leave out the costly doc-fix provision; and
  • Assume a cadillac tax on high-cost health plans.

In his article, Holtz-Eakin says, “There was never any reason to believe that the law reduced the deficit by roughly $140 billion over ten years. Starting two new open-ended entitlements without fixing the existing budgetary cancers just doesn’t work that way. Repealing Obamacare is simply a first step toward fiscal sanity that should happen as soon as possible.”

Take it from the expert. I think a former CBO director understands CBO reports far better than liberal media and Members of Congress.

For even more information on the disingenuous CBO report, check out this analysis from the Heritage Foundation.