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Thread: Congressional Budget Office Consistently Wrong on Health Care Estimates

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    Re: Congressional Budget Office Consistently Wrong on Health Care Estimates

    Earth to RightinNYC, CBO says repeal of health reform bill will add $230 billion to the national debt over the next decade.¹

    Why don't we start with reality?
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    Re: Congressional Budget Office Consistently Wrong on Health Care Estimates

    Quote Originally Posted by Chappy View Post
    Earth to RightinNYC, CBO says repeal of health reform bill will add $230 billion to the national debt over the next decade.¹

    Why don't we start with reality?
    Please tell me you're just messing with me and that you don't actually think that's a response to what I said.

    I addressed this not 10 posts ago, pointing out the obvious problems with such simplistic reasoning. Simply repeating "but the CBO said X, so that's reality" is obtuse and quite frankly not up to your standards.
    Last edited by RightinNYC; 01-08-11 at 01:31 AM.
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    Re: Congressional Budget Office Consistently Wrong on Health Care Estimates

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    That's my point. Yet despite that, many in the media and popular culture continue to trot out the old saw about how CBO reports are by their very nature unbiased and unimpeachable.
    Yeah....

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    How exactly does a wildly implausible and inaccurate projection help us at all?
    I don't know exactly how they come up with their estimates, but someone (I believe it was you) who explained that they held certain variables steady due to a politician's request. Given that a Democrat asked for an estimate, I'm sure they wanted the absolute best scenario for the health care bill. So, as a starting point, we'd consider the positive $143 Billion net as a best case scenario. Without a middle and worst case scenario, though, its not highly useful, I admit.

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    Because that's not the CBO's mission. The plan you're describing sounds like an improvement, but then it wouldn't be the CBO...
    I don't know a whole lot about their mission, but shouldn't it analyze the affect bills have on our budget? Of course, they would only review bills that they are requested to review, but when they do it, they should do it absolutely independently. From what I do know, they are meant to be apolitical, independent, and it damn well should be holy writ.
    Last edited by repeter; 01-08-11 at 01:33 AM.
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    Re: Congressional Budget Office Consistently Wrong on Health Care Estimates

    Quote Originally Posted by repeter View Post
    I don't know a whole lot about their mission, but shouldn't it analyze the affect bills have on our budget? Of course, they would only review bills that they are requested to review, but when they do it, they should do it absolutely independently. From what I do know, they are meant to be apolitical, independent, and it damn well should be holy writ.
    See, I think that there is a place for an agency that comes up with custom projections based on whatever particular assumptions that a politician wants to try out - that's one of the best ways to get a rough idea of the impact of various complex proposals. However, I think that the CBO should do more to make it exceedingly clear that their projections based on those assumptions are just that, rather than the gospel truth. I agree with your idea that the CBO should also be required to include a set of more optimistic and pessimistic projections.
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    Re: Congressional Budget Office Consistently Wrong on Health Care Estimates

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    See, I think that there is a place for an agency that comes up with custom projections based on whatever particular assumptions that a politician wants to try out - that's one of the best ways to get a rough idea of the impact of various complex proposals. However, I think that the CBO should do more to make it exceedingly clear that their projections based on those assumptions are just that, rather than the gospel truth. I agree with your idea that the CBO should also be required to include a set of more optimistic and pessimistic projections.
    Why isn't the CBO already like that though? The only thing making government so inefficient are politicians, it works fine without them.
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    Re: Congressional Budget Office Consistently Wrong on Health Care Estimates

    Quote Originally Posted by repeter View Post
    Why isn't the CBO already like that though? The only thing making government so inefficient are politicians, it works fine without them.
    It doesn't work like because then the congress critters wouldn't have PR stunts.
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    Re: Congressional Budget Office Consistently Wrong on Health Care Estimates

    Quote Originally Posted by MrVicchio View Post
    It doesn't work like because then the congress critters wouldn't have PR stunts.
    F**k politics, these people are supposed to do what's best for us, not vote along party lines, and use government agencies to get re-elected. I suppose a great way to start reform would be to introduce term limits so eventually they stop working primarily to get re-elected...but I digress.
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    Re: Congressional Budget Office Consistently Wrong on Health Care Estimates

    The issue is do we discount what CBO says because we think Congress will change the outcome before the current law is fully executed? Example, will Congress repeal the Medicare cuts specified in the health care reform bill?

    After all, much of the savings in that bill were based on those cuts. Reality is that the CBO zeroed out significant savings in the bill as unproven. Will doctors stop ordering unnecessary tests to boost their compensation? Will hospitals stop cost shifting in order to cover uninsured losses? Will people be healthier because they have regular health checkups instead of waiting until medical emergencies?

    Most experts agree that near universal health care insurance will change much that's wrong with our current system. Estimates are treacherous. One thing remains as the foundation: CBO numbers.

    Republicans are telling us that they don't count. In so many ways, at this point, they are the only things that count.
    Last edited by Chappy; 01-08-11 at 02:10 AM.
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    Re: Congressional Budget Office Consistently Wrong on Health Care Estimates

    Quote Originally Posted by Chappy View Post
    The issue is do we discount what CBO says because we think Congress will change the outcome before the current law is fully executed? Example, will Congress repeal the Medicare cuts specified in the health care reform bill?
    Yes, they will. I don't know of anyone who really disputes this.

    Most experts agree that near universal health care insurance will change much that's wrong with our current system. Estimates are treacherous. One thing remains as the foundation: CBO numbers.

    Republicans are telling us that they don't count. In so many ways, at this point, they are the only things that count.
    You know, I was kind of hoping you'd say that.

    CBO says health bill increases deficits under Rep. Ryan's assumptions - The Hill's Blog Briefing Room

    CBO says health bill increases deficits under Rep. Ryan's assumptions

    The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said the healthcare bill would add billions to the country's debt if lawmakers ignore the bill's cost constraints, as Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) expects them to do.

    Under the scenario painted by Ryan, CBO said the healthcare bill's $138 billion in savings over 10 years would disappear because the government would: extend the current Medicare doctor payment rate instead of allowing it to expire; allow health insurance subsidies to grow at a sustained rate; and fail to implement a tax on high-cost health plans and an independent Medicare advisory board, two measures aimed at constraining federal health costs.

    ...

    The Medicare physician payment rate extension, which costs $208 billion over 10 years, would be enough by itself to wipe out the deficit reduction.

    The CBO said that if Ryan's other assumptions become reality, the deficit would increase by $260 billion over 10 years and likely by a greater amount in the bill's second decade -- a level equal to 0.25 percent of gross domestic product.
    When the CBO released that analysis, were you arguing that that was the only thing that counted? Were you defending CBO figures as the "foundation" to base our debate on?

    If this article doesn't make it clear how foolish it is to rely on CBO conclusions without regard for the assumptions that the CBO is asked to use, I don't know what will.
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    Re: Congressional Budget Office Consistently Wrong on Health Care Estimates

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    … You know, I was kind of hoping you'd say that.

    CBO says health bill increases deficits under Rep. Ryan's assumptions - The Hill's Blog Briefing Room



    When the CBO released that analysis, were you arguing that that was the only thing that counted? Were you defending CBO figures as the "foundation" to base our debate on?

    If this article doesn't make it clear how foolish it is to rely on CBO conclusions without regard for the assumptions that the CBO is asked to use, I don't know what will.
    But, of course, those numbers apply when Republicans offer the repeal of those health care bill cost constraints. Different debate. Not when they offer a total repeal as they are now. That's the issue on the floor this week and CBO says the cost is $230 Billion over the next decade.
    “Real environmentalists live in cities, and they visit what's left of the wilderness as gently and respectfully as possible.” — Donna Moulton, letter to the editor, Tucson Weekly, published on August 23, 2001

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