CBO deals another blow to House health plan - Patrick O'Connor - POLITICO.com
That's pretty bad, but it's nowhere near as disturbing as this next part:The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office dealt another blow to House Democrats on Friday night, saying their health care bill would increase the federal deficit by $239 billion over the next 10 years.
The projected shortfall means Democrats would need to find additional revenue or make deeper cuts to existing programs in order to meet their goal of paying for the $1 trillion bill.
What are those rules, you say?But those projections don't account for a $245 billion reduction in the deficit this legislation would create, if Democrats can also approve new balanced budget rules that would permanently address an annual shortfall in Medicare payments to physicians.
Read that, and then read it again.But the biggest change would come from the enactment of new accounting rules — something CBO still can't account for because those new rules haven't become law.
In the bill, Democrats provide $245 billion to eliminate an annual shortfall in payments to doctors under Medicare. Democrats resolved this annual headache, in large part, to win crucial support for the bill from the American Medical Association. That money currently counts against the overall costs of the bill, but Democrats have introduced legislation that would remove remove this obligation from federal deficit. However, CBO won't recognize that change until those new pay-as-you-go rules become law.
Right now, the bill will create a deficit of $239 billion dollars. However, the Democrats are trying to pass legislation that would change the accounting rules so as to exempt this particular $245 billion cost from the bill. Why would they do that? So that they can say this bill is revenue-neutral.
That's some of the most blatant budgetary manipulation I can think of. Keep that in mind when you see the articles next week proclaiming that the House bill will not add to the deficit at all.