Diary

Budget Office Rebuts Democratic Claims on Medicare

Mitch McConnell just received the only justification he should need for pushing the vote on the Senate health care bill to the absolute last minute:

Dec. 23 (Bloomberg) — The Congressional Budget Office challenged claims by health-care overhaul proponents that Medicare savings in Senate legislation would help finance expanded coverage and postpone the bankruptcy of the medical program for the elderly.

The nonpartisan agency said the $246 billion it projected the legislation would save Medicare can’t both finance new programs and help pay future expenses for elderly covered under the federal program.

Nor could those savings be used to extend the solvency of Medicare, set to run out of money in 2017, the budget office said in a letter to Senate Republicans.

“What we’ve seen is a colossal manipulation” by Democrats “of the accounting scores of CBO” and the independent actuary of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, said Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, the Republican who requested the analysis from CBO. He called the letter “a potential game-changer.”

The estimated Medicare savings in the legislation overstate “the improvement in the government’s fiscal position,” the CBO said in the letter.

“The true increase in the ability to pay for future Medicare benefits or other programs would be a good deal smaller,” the budget office said…

…Arguments that the Medicare savings would both extend Medicare’s solvency and help finance “new spending outside of Medicare would essentially double count a large share of those savings,” the CBO said.