Just now on the Senate floor, Senator Chambliss made incorrect statements about costs under health reform.  See below for a fact check.

RHETORIC: Sen. Chambliss Claimed the CBO Said That Health Care Costs and Taxes Would Increase Under Reid Bill. Expressing what Republicans stood for in the health reform debate, Sen. Saxby Chambliss said, “[w]e are for trending down the cost curve which when it comes to health care reform, if we don’t turn that cost curve downward, then we have failed the American people.  And, frankly, the independent Congressional Budget Office has said that health care costs under the Reid proposal is going to not only continue to go up, but it’s likely to – not continue on its current curve, but it’s not only going to go up, but not go down.” Chambliss also claimed that the bill would increase taxes. [Sen. Chambliss Senate Floor Speech, 12/20/09]


CBO Said Health Reform Reduces The Deficit By $132 Billion Over First Ten Years. “CBO puts the price tag of the bill at $871 billion, and it says it will reduce the deficit by $132 billion over the first 10 years and then $1.3 trillion over the second 10 years.  In addition, CBO estimates that the legislation would cover more than 94% of all Americans under 65, and provide coverage to an additional 31 million Americans who currently lack health insurance.” [MSNBC, 12/19/09]

CMS Actuary “Did Not Suggest That The Curve Was Bending Up. If Anything, It Suggested The Curve Would Bend Down.” Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic wrote: “But while the Actuary did in fact predict reform would mean spending slightly more in 2019 than we otherwise would, it did not suggest that the curve was bending up. If anything, it suggested the curve would bend down, albeit only a little.” [The New Republic, 12/14/09]

CMS Report: Senate Health Care Bill Will Have “A Significant Downward Impact On Future Health Care Cost Growth Rates.” According to a recently released CMS report, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will have “a significant downward impact on future health care cost growth rates.”  [CMS Report, 12/10/09]

CEA Report: Reform Will Bend Cost Curve, And Noted More Benefits: GDP Will Be 4 Percent Higher, Median Family Income $6,800 Higher, Deficit Reduction By 2 Percent, 320,000 More Jobs All By 2030. The Council of Economic Advisers released a report on the potential impact of health insurance reform on bending the cost curve, and it noted “[a] few of the many benefits of reducing the growth rate of health care costs by an average of 1.0 percentage point per year.” The list included: “GDP that is 4 percent higher by 2030…Median family income that is $6,800 higher by 2030…Federal budget deficit lowered by as much as 2 percent of GDP by 2030…An unemployment rate that is 0.16 percentage point lower and approximately 320,000 additional jobs.” [CEA Report, 12/14/09]

Ezra Klein On Senate Bill: CBO Statements Confirm That, “The Curve, As They Say, Is Bent.” The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein wrote of the Senate health reform bill: “One actual surprise is that the Senate bill doesn’t just pay for itself. It balances itself out. That is to say, the bill is not deficit neutral because it costs a billion dollars and then the government raises a billion more dollars in taxes. In that scenario, the government is spending more, but paying for it. Rather, ‘CBO expects that, during the decade following the 10-year budget window, the increases and decreases in the federal budgetary commitment to health care stemming from this legislation would roughly balance out, so that there would be no significant change in that commitment.’ In the first 10 years, in other words, the bill improves the deficit a bit, but the government is spending $160 billion more on health care than it otherwise would have. In the second decade, however, that ends: The savings from Medicare and Medicaid, paired with the excise tax (which CBO says ‘is effectively a reduction in the existing tax expenditure for health insurance premiums’) and a handful of other changes, leaves the government spending no more on health care than it otherwise planned to. That’s impressive stuff. And it implies, of course, that in the third decade, the federal commitment actually goes down relative to expectation. The curve, as they say, is bent.” [Washington Post – Ezra Klein, 11/19/09]


JCT: Cadillac Plan Tax Will Affect Only 3% Of Premiums In 2013; Senate Plan Included Special Protections To Plans Held By Workers In High-Risk Professions, Like Police And Firefighters, And Those Over 55. Jason Furman wrote on the White House Blog: “the excise tax levied on insurance companies for high-premium plans, the so-called “Cadillac tax,” will affect only a small portion of the very highest cost health plans – a total of 3% of premiums in 2013. The vast majority of health plans fall below the thresholds set in the Senate plan and would be completely unaffected by the provision. And those that are above the threshold would only face an excise tax on the generally small portion of the plan that exceeds the threshold. As a result, based on analyses by the Joint Committee on Taxation, only about 3% of premiums will be affected by this provision in 2013. In addition, the Senate plan provides special protections to plans held by workers in high-risk professions – like police and firefighters – as well as by those over 55.” [White House, 12/16/09]

JCT: Senate Bill Will Provide Nearly $450 Billion In Individual Income Tax Cuts. Jason Furman wrote on the White House Blog: “First, the health insurance reform bill being considered in the Senate does not raise taxes on families making less than $250,000 – in fact it is a substantial net tax cut for American families. The bill being considered represents a substantial net tax cut for middle income families. According to the independent Joint Committee on Taxation, the bill will provide nearly $450 billion in individual income tax cuts over the next 10 years.” [White House, 12/16/09]

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]