CBO: New Obamacare Bill Will Cost $849 Billion

Posted: Nov 18, 2009 5:31 PM
It's been reported that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has released its scoring of the health care overhaul bill that Harry Reid has brought to the Senate, saying that it will cost $849 billion over the first ten years after its enactment. 

The CBO has not released the full text yet, so it's difficult to know what is accurate about the score and what may be misleading. However, Peter Suderman at Reason offered something to keep in mind with the CBO score:
Ezra Klein is reporting that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has seen the CBO scores for the Senate's health care bill, and is "very pleased." Of course he is: It's doubtful that we'd be getting a score today if he weren't; according to one of Klein's recent posts, the reason we didn't see the score last Friday, as originally expected, is that the CBO's numbers came back to Reid, but weren't what was hoped. As a result, the bill, according to Klein, was "tweaked and trimmed until CBO [gave] Reid the answer he's looking for." Indeed, this is often how the scoring process works: Legislators work closely with CBO to push and pull at various elements of the bill until the CBO's math produces the desired result. So given that Reid knows exactly what it will be in advance (he sees preliminary numbers), can choose to release the score or resubmit again, and has been working with the CBO to make sure the numbers are to his liking, it's hardly surprising to see that, on a high profile bill like this, Reid is happy with the result.
How much of the reported CBO score will be honest and how much will be a Harry Reid-helmed attempt to game the CBO scoring system? Only time will tell.

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