It’s very hard to know exactly what the ten-year cost of a complicated piece of legislation will be. But the Congressional Budget Office is pretty good at doing these projections. And standard practice in the media is to use CBO figures when discussing the cost of legislation. Thus, when the CBO says the House health bill costs $1 trillion over ten years, I’m inclined to call it a bill that costs $1 trillion over ten years.
And then there’s the AP where they just decided to make up a higher number and stick with it come what may.
Brian Beutler points out that Newt Ginrgich is now running with the AP numbers entrenching them as part of the conventional wisdom.