Dems Instructed to Evade Details of CBO Score; UPDATE: Dems Call Memo a 'Hoax'

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Posted: Mar 19, 2010 2:45 PM
In no uncertain terms, a memo circulating around Capitol Hill explicitly instructs Democrats on Capitol Hill to avoid discussing details of the CBO score of the health care bill and instead, stick to rhetorical points about deficit "reductions" and the number of people who will be covered under Obamacare.
We cannot emphasize enough: do not allow yourself (or your boss) to get into a discussion of the details of CBO scores and textual narrative.  Instead, focus only on the deficit reductions and number of Americans covered.
Like I said earlier, Dems' objective is to keep people in the dark on details of this thing--it's the only way they can get it passed. 

The inclusion of a full SGR [Sustainable Growth Rate] repeal would undermine reform’s budget neutrality.  So, again, do not allow yourself (or your boss) to get into a discussion of the details of CBO scores and textual narrative.  Instead, focus only on the deficit reductions and number of Americans covered.

As most health staff knows, Leadership and the White House are working with the AMA to rally physicians (sic) support for a full SGR repeal later this spring.  However, both health and communications staff should understand we do not want that policy discussion discussed at this time…

Why the secrecy?  This could have something to do with it...

Politico points out that Dems plan to tac on an addition $371 billion to the health care mess after it's passed.  Goodbye so-called "deficit reduction":

Democrats are planning to introduce legislation later this spring that would permanently repeal annual Medicare cuts to doctors, but are warning lawmakers not to talk about it for fear that it will complicate their push to pass comprehensive health reform. The plans undercut the party's message that reform lowers the deficit, according to a memo obtained by POLITICO.

Democrats removed the so-called doc fix from the reform legislation last year because its $371-billion price tag would have made it impossible for Democrats to claim that their bill reduces the deficit. Republicans have argued for months that by stripping the doc fix from the bill, Democrats were playing a shell game.

Will the exposure of this underhanded scheming be enough to pressure some "Yes" votes to switch sides?  Keep calling...

Update: Dems are claiming the memo is a "hoax":

“We have checked with every Democratic office, no one has ever seen it. It did not come out of a Democratic office,” the aide said, adding that media outlets printing the memo have not checked with leadership offices if the memo is authentic. A second Democratic leadership aide confirmed the memo was not sent by the Democrats. A third Democratic aide also said the memo is fake, citing the “draft” stamp and saying no one uses such things.

“If this were a Democratic communications person who wrote this, they should be fired, because this looks like Republican talking points,” the third Democratic aide told TPMDC.

The memo alleging the changes commonly known as a “doc fix” would be politically damaging to Democrats, who already are holding together a fragile coalition to get the needed 216 votes Sunday.

Politico is working to verify the memo's origin and our friend Ed Morrissey has personally confirmed with a couple of different Hill sources the memo exists.