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Crafting the CBO Response to Health Care’s Cost

From Greg Scandlen:

The Mandate — Getting it From All Sides

At Cato, Michael Cannon remembers what CBO did to ClintonCare back in the 1990s. He writes, “In its 1994 score of the Clinton plan, Bob Reischauer’s CBO included those mandated ‘private’ payments in the federal budget — i.e., as federal revenues and federal expenditures.” That effectively killed the bill by ballooning its impact on the federal budget. Yet, this year, “congressional Democrats have very carefully tailored their individual and employer mandates to avoid CBO’s definition of what shall be counted in the federal budget.”

When mandated spending crosses the line to become a tax is an interesting, if esoteric, question. Mr. Cannon concludes, “Crafting the private-sector mandates such that they fall just a hair short of CBO’s criteria for inclusion in the federal budget does not reduce their cost, nor does it make those mandates any less binding.  But it dramatically reduces the apparent cost of the legislation.  It is the reason we’re all talking about an $848 billion Reid bill, rather than a $2.1 trillion Reid bill.”

SOURCE:

Cato Institute

http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/2009/12/16/bland-cbo-memo-or-smoking-gun/

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December 17, 2009 - Posted by | Federal Government, healthcare | ,

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