This morning on Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace selectively quoted the Congressional Budget Office analysis of the merged Senate legislation to suggest that the Senate health legislation would increase government outlays on health care over 20 years and bend the cost-cure upward:
WALLACE: According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, federal outlays for health care would increase during the 2010-2019 period and the government-run health insurance plan would typically have premiums that were somewhat higher than the average premiums for the private plan. So here’s the question. The Democratic plan by the CBO’s own scoring fails to bend the famous health care cost curve at all over the course of these 10 years, and could you name a single Congress that has ever cut Medicare by half a trillion dollars as this legislation would?
Page 16 of the CBO report does predict that “federal outlays for health care would increase during the 2010-2019 period,” but the last paragraph of that same page adds that “during the decade following the 10-year budget window, the increases and decreases in the federal budgetary commitment to health care stemming for this legislation would roughly balance out, so that there would be no significant change in the commitment.” As Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) pointed out, the $848 billion bill would actually “save $130 billion in the first 10 years” and $650 billion in the next decade. Over on the Wonk Room, Igor Volsky debunks Wallace’s other claims about the bill failing to “bend the famous health care cost curve” and whether previous sessions of Congress ever cut Medicare.