Please see below for a fact check on comments made just now by Senator Barrasso on the Senate floor that health reform would increase the deficit, despite the fact that the CBO’s estimate found it would reduce the deficit by $130 billion:   RHETORIC: Sen. Barrasso Claimed That 79% Of Americans Thought Health Bill Would Increase Deficit, 85% Thought Health Bill Would Raise Taxes. “Do you think the federal budget deficit will or will not increase if this bill is passed? This bill is passed, where the President says it won’t raise it by a dime. 79% of Americans said this is going to increase the deficit. Only 19% believe what the President is telling the American people. And then the question of taxes. The president said ‘my plan won’t raise your taxes one’ what do the American people think when the president speaks? Do you think your taxes would or will not increase? This is the poll CNN that the Republican leader just talked about, done earlier this month. ‘Do you think your taxes would’ the number of people that believe the taxes will increase if this passes? 85%. 85% Of the American people believe that they’re not getting it straight from the President of the United States. Only 14% believe him when he says he’s not going to — won’t raise taxes a penny.” [Senate Floor, 12/11/09]     REALITY: INSTEAD OF PROPAGATING UNFOUNDED FEARS, SEN. BARRASSO SHOULD SPEND HIS TIME DISSEMINATING FACTS TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE SENATE HEALTH REFORM BILL WILL REDUCE THE DEFICIT

WSJ: CBO’s Estimate Of Senate Bill Is $848 Billion, Cuts Deficit By $130 Billion. The Wall Street Journal reported that, “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid set the stage for a climactic debate in the Senate over health care by unveiling a 10-year, $848 billion bill that would extend insurance to 31 million Americans without coverage…In a boost for the bill’s prospects, the CBO estimated the Senate measure would reduce the federal budget deficit by $130 billion over the next decade, and additional amounts over the second 10 years of the program. It achieves that in part through a new Medicare payroll tax and a tax on high-value insurance plans, which has aroused strong opposition…To help ease the financial burden on workers, Mr. Reid lowered the maximum amount the bill would require them to spend on premiums, capping premiums at 9.8% of income, down from 12%.” [Wall Street Journal, 11/19/09]

  • Roll Call On CBO Score: Senate Bill “Slash[es] The Deficit By A Whopping $777 Billion Over The Next 20 Years,” Sen. Kent Conrad Said Sen. Reid Did “An Exceptionally Good Job.” Roll Call reported that, “[a]t first blush, Reid scored a coup with his $849 billion bill, because Democrats said the Congressional Budget Office estimated that it would slash the deficit by a whopping $777 billion over the next 20 years while providing insurance for an additional 31 million Americans. The price tag is also less than the $900 billion President Barack Obama had called for and the $1.2 trillion cost of the House-passed version… ‘He was applauded. His staff was applauded,’ said Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), a deficit hawk who said Reid did ‘an exceptionally good job.’” [Roll Call, 11/18/09]

23 Of Nation’s Most Well-Respected Health Economists: “We Believe That It Is Important To Enact Health Reform…[It] Will Lower Health Care Costs And Help Reduce Deficits Over The Long Term.” In a letter to the President, 23 of the nation’s most well-respected health economists said: “As economists, we believe that it is important to enact health reform, and it is essential that health reform include these four features [deficit neutrality, excise tax on high-cost insurance plans, independent Medicare commission, delivery system reforms] that will lower health care costs and help reduce deficits over the long term.” [Letter from 23 economists, 11/17/09]

Group Of 23 Economists Included “Republicans, Democrats, Former Bush Administration Officials And Nobel Laureates,” All Of Their Recommendations Are Included In Legislation. In a Washington Post Op-Ed, Peter Orszag noted that, “the Office of Management and Budget reached out to 23 of the nation’s most prominent economists — a group that included Republicans, Democrats, former Bush administration officials and Nobel laureates — to get views on the four elements critical to reducing long-term health-care costs while improving the quality of care for all Americans. Each of the steps endorsed by this bipartisan group is embodied in the legislation under consideration.” [Washington Post Op-Ed, 11/19/09]

SENATE HEALTH REFORM BILL WILL CUT MEDICAL COSTS FOR AMERICANS

Based On CBO Estimates, Under Senate Bill, Individuals Would Save From $200 To $2,500; Families Would Save $500 To $7,500 – “In Addition To The More Generous Benefits That These Groups Will Receive Through The [Health Insurance] Exchange.” Jonathan Gruber, MIT professor of economics and a health economics specialist wrote on the updated CBO estimates of the Senate health reform legislation: “I find that the savings are large for both singles and families, and that they are particularly large for the lowest income families that qualify for premium credits under the Senate Bill but would be left to face the full high non-group premium without legislation. In particular, I find that the single individual would save over $2,500 at low incomes (175% of poverty), and would save $200 even at higher incomes (425% of poverty or higher). For families, the savings are much larger, ranging from nearly $7,500 for low income families (at 175% of poverty) to $500 for higher incomes (425% of poverty of higher). It is worth noting that these savings are all in addition to the more generous benefits that these groups will receive through the exchange compared to the non-group market.” [Gruber, 11/27/09]

NYT: “Nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office Persuasively Contradicted” Insurance Industry Claim That Reform Legislation Would Drive Up Insurance Premiums; “Tens Of Millions Of Uninsured Americans Can Be Covered Without Driving Up Costs For Everyone Else.” The New York Times editorial board wrote: “The health insurance industry frightened Americans — and gave Republicans a shrill talking point — when it declared in October that proposed reform legislation would drive up insurance costs for virtually everyone by as much as thousands of dollars a year. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office persuasively contradicted that claim this week. Undaunted, the industry issued a rebuttal report, claiming again that premiums would soar. We find this second industry report no more persuasive than the first…And we have far more confidence in the C.B.O.’s expertise in evaluating a wide array of databases and in its objectivity. The chief message Americans should derive from the C.B.O.’s analysis is that tens of millions of uninsured Americans can be covered without driving up costs for everyone else.” [New York Times Editorial, 12/4/09]

Bloomberg News: 134 Million Americans Insured Through Large Employers Will See No Rise In Premiums And May Pay 3 Percent Less…Subsidies Also Will Lower Costs As Much As 59 Percent For 18 Million People Buying Their Own Insurance.” Bloomberg News reported on CBO estimates of the Senate health insurance reform bill’s impact on insurance premiums: “On average, 134 million Americans insured through large employers will see no rise in premiums and may pay 3 percent less than they would if Congress failed to pass a health-care overhaul plan, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said yesterday. Subsidies also will lower costs as much as 59 percent for 18 million people buying their own insurance.” [Bloomberg, 12/1/09]

CBO On Senate Bill: An Insurance Plan With Reform Would Cost Almost 20% Less Than The Same Plan Without Reform. The Washington Posts’ Ezra Klein reported on a section of MIT professor Jonathan Gruber’s analysis of the CBO estimate of the Senate Bill: “In their most recent communication with Congress, CBO also projected that, absent reform, the cost of an individual policy in the non-group market would be $5500 for a plan with an actuarial value of 60%. This implies that the same plan that cost $5500 without reform would cost $4460 with reform, or almost 20% less.” [Washington Post – Ezra Klein, 11/30/09]

MIT Health Economist: Health Reform Will Raise Wages By $234 Billion, Almost $700 Per Insured Household In 2019. According to Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic, MIT professor and health economist Jonathan Gruber has calculated that under health reform: “Worker wages rise by $55 billion by 2019. This amounts to almost $700 per insured household in 2019. Worker wages rise by $234 billion in aggregate over this time period.” [The New Republic, 11/20/09]

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