How critical to the passage of Obamacare was the 2010 "score" given the legislation by the Congressional Budget Office?
Recall the President's signature legislation barely passed, and squeaked by along party lines -- without a single Republican vote. Before the vote, congressional Democrats waited for the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office to "score" the legislation. How much, per the CBO, will Obamacare cost? Will Obamacare, as President Barack Obama promised, truly reduce the deficit, the gap between what the government takes in and what it spends?
After all, in December, 2009 -- months before the legislation's passage -- Obama assured us, "I made clear from day one that I would not sign a health insurance reform bill if it raised the deficit by one dime -- and neither the House, nor the Senate bill does." Nervous "conservative Democrats" vowed, as did Obama, to oppose any expansion of health care coverage if it added to the deficit, which, in turn, would add to the national debt, then at $11.9 trillion.
Thus, some on-the-fence Democrats told constituents that their vote depended upon the crucial CBO "score."
Well, not to worry, in 2010 the CBO delivered the very good news Democrats hoped for. In the first 10 years, Obamacare, according to the CBO, more than delivers on its promises. The Hill, on March 19, 2010 wrote: "Democrats hailed a Congressional Budget Office score Thursday that said their healthcare bill would trim the deficit by $138 billion." The news, according to the CBO, gets even better in the second decade. The Hill said, "It will reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion in the second decade of the plan's implementation."
The cheers were heard across the aisle, over the Potomac and 'round the world.
Then-House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., said, "We're absolutely giddy over the great news we have gotten from CBO." Then-House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said: "We think the numbers are now pretty well set from CBO. We think it will post the largest deficit reduction of any bill that we've adopted in the Congress since 1993." Obama said, "That makes this the most significant effort to reduce the deficit since the Balanced Budget Act of the 1990s."
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