Please disable your Ad Blocker in order to interact with the site.

Yesterday Harry Reid Proudly announced CBO had scored the Senate’s bill and that claimed that the bill would save $109 Billion during the first ten years years of the plan’s Today the CBO released a letter showing that Reid’s information is wrong. The Majority leader “forgot to include the “doctor’s fix“, in his scoring. Once that is done the effect of the Senate Bill is to INCREASE the the deficit by $89 billion in the first 10 years. Among the facts theCBO head said in a letter:

CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation estimate that enacting H.R. 3962, by itself, would reduce federal budget deficits by $109 billion over the 2010–2019 period through its effects on direct spending and revenues.
CBO estimates that enacting both H.R. 3961 and H.R. 3962 would add $89 billion to budget deficits over the 2010–2019 period. That amount is about $12 billion less than the sum of the effects of enacting the bills separately. The $12 billion difference results from two types of interactions. The higher payment rates for physicians’ services under H.R. 3961 would increase the net cost of provisions in H.R. 3962 by about $3 billion. However, that difference would be more than offset by the effect of a change under H.R. 3962 in how payment rates for Medicare Advantage plans are set. That change would reduce the effect of the changes made by H.R. 3961 to Medicare’s payments for physicians’ services in the fee-for-service sector on payment rates for Medicare Advantage plans. As a result, the estimated increase in payments to Medicare Advantage plans would be $15 billion smaller if both bills were enacted than under H.R. 3961 alone.

 (The full letter is at the bottom of this post)


As Billy Mays used to say…And That’s Not All! As they say, timing is everything:

The Democrats cite the bills’ projected costs from 2010-19. Yet, as the Congressional Budget Office reports, the bill would cost just $9 billion total from 2010 through 2013 — versus $147 billion in 2016 alone. In the first 40 percent of what the Democrats are calling the bill’s “first 10 years,” only 1 percent of its costs would yet have hit.

As the CBO analysis indicates, the bill’s real 10-year costs would start in 2014. And in its true first decade (2014 to 2023), CBO projects the bill’s costs to be $1.8 trillion — double the price Reid is advertising. And that’s even though the CBO optimistically assumes the government-run “public option” wouldn’t cost a cent. Over this same 10-year span, the 2,074-page bill would hike taxes and fines on Americans by $892 billion — more than the alleged price of the bill.

This bill is a tax and spend disaster. It includes taxes that will slow down the economy and spending that will bankrupt the government for generations to come.

CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE Douglas W. Elmendorf, Director
U.S. Congress
Washington, DC 20515
November 19, 2009
Honorable Paul Ryan
Ranking Member
Committee on the Budget
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Congressman:

This letter responds to questions you have asked about Medicare’s payments to
physicians and the budgetary effects of H.R. 3961, the Medicare Physicians Payment
Reform Act of 2009, as introduced on October 29, 2009. In particular, you inquired about
the budgetary impact of a new regulation specifying how payments to physicians should
be determined under current law and about the total budgetary impact of enacting both
H.R. 3961 and H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act.
The New Rule Governing Medicare’s Payments to Physicians

On October 30, 2009, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services promulgated a
final rule, “Payment Policies Under the Physician Fee Schedule and Other Revisions to
Part B for CY 2010.” 1 That rule removes physician-administered (P-A) drugs from the
calculation of the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula, which determines the updates
to payment rates for physicians’ services. Removal of P-A drugs from the SGR will
increase Medicare’s spending for fee-for-service physicians’ services and the Medicare
Advantage (MA) program, as well as the Department of Defense’s outlays for the
TRICARE program. Because beneficiaries enrolled in Part B of Medicare pay premiums
that offset about 25 percent of the costs of their benefits, premium income will rise to
offset part of the added costs. On net, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates
that this new rule will increase federal spending by $78 billion over the 2010–2019
period.

The Budgetary Impact of Enacting Both H.R. 3961 and H.R. 3962

Under current law, including the new rule, Medicare’s payment rates for physicians’
services will be reduced by about 21 percent in January 2010, and CBO estimates those
payment rates will be reduced by about 2 percent annually for several subsequent years.
H.R. 3961 would increase those payment rates by 1.2 percent in 2010 and restructure the

The final rule removed spending for physicianadministered drugs from the SGR calculations, specified the Medicare economic index for 2010, and made numerous other changes to the physician fee schedule.

SGR beginning in 2011. Those changes would result in significantly higher payment
rates for physicians than those that would result under current law. CBO estimates that
enacting H.R. 3961, by itself, would cost $210 billion over the 2010–2019 period.2
H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act, would establish a mandate for
most legal residents of the United States to obtain health insurance, set up insurance
“exchanges” through which certain individuals could receive federal subsidies toward the
purchase of such insurance, and make numerous other changes in the health insurance
system, in federal health care programs, and in the federal tax code. CBO and the staff of
the Joint Committee on Taxation estimate that enacting H.R. 3962, by itself, would
reduce federal budget deficits by $109 billion over the 2010–2019 period through its
effects on direct spending and revenues.3

CBO estimates that enacting both H.R. 3961 and H.R. 3962 would add $89 billion to
budget deficits over the 2010–2019 period. That amount is about $12 billion less than the
sum of the effects of enacting the bills separately. The $12 billion difference results from
two types of interactions. The higher payment rates for physicians’ services under
H.R. 3961 would increase the net cost of provisions in H.R. 3962 by about $3 billion.
However, that difference would be more than offset by the effect of a change under
H.R. 3962 in how payment rates for Medicare Advantage plans are set. That change
would reduce the effect of the changes made by H.R. 3961 to Medicare’s payments for
physicians’ services in the fee-for-service sector on payment rates for Medicare
Advantage plans. As a result, the estimated increase in payments to Medicare Advantage
plans would be $15 billion smaller if both bills were enacted than under H.R. 3961 alone.
You also asked about the long-term effects on the federal budget of enacting both bills. A
detailed year-by-year projection, like those that CBO prepares for the 10-year budget
window, would not be meaningful because the uncertainties involved are simply too
great. Among other factors, a wide range of changes could occur—in people’s health, in
the sources and extent of their insurance coverage, and in the delivery of medical care
(such as advances in medical research, technological developments, and changes in
physicians’ practice patterns)—that are likely to be significant but are very difficult to
predict, both under current law and under any proposal.

CBO has therefore developed a rough outlook for the decade following the 10-year
budget window. The agency estimates that the two bills together would cost about
$32 billion more in 2019 than H.R. 3962 alone and that the combination of the two bills
would increase the budget deficit in 2019 by $23 billion relative to current law. Those

increments would grow during the following decade. As stated in its October 29, 2009,
letter to Congressman Charles B. Rangel, “CBO expects that [H.R. 3962] would slightly
reduce federal budget deficits in that decade relative to those projected under current
law—with a total effect during that decade that is in a broad range between zero and onequarter percent of GDP [gross domestic product].” If both H.R. 3961 and H.R. 3962 were enacted, CBO expects that federal budget deficits during the decade following the
10-year budget window would increase relative to those projected under current law—
with a total effect during that decade that is in a broad range between zero and onequarter percent of GDP.

1 See http://www.federalregister.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2009-26502_PI.pdf.

2 See CBO’s cost estimate for H.R. 3961 (November 4, 2009) at http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/107xx/doc10704/hr3961.pdf .

3 See CBO’s cost estimate for H.R. 3962 (November 6, 2009) at http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/107xx/doc10710/
hr3962Dingell_mgr_amendment_update.pdf .
If you wish further details, CBO would be happy to provide them. The staff contacts for
this estimate are Lori Housman and Tom Bradley.
Sincerely,
Douglas W. Elmendorf
Director
cc: Honorable John M. Spratt, Jr.
Chairman, Committee on the Budget
Honorable Charles B. Rangel
Chairman, Committee on Ways and Means
Honorable Dave Camp
Ranking Member
Honorable George Miller
Chairman, Committee on Education and Labor
Honorable John Kline
Senior Republican
Honorable Henry A. Waxman
Chairman, Committee on Energy and Commerce
Honorable Joe Barton
Ranking Member

Become a Lid Insider

Sign up for our free email newsletter, and we'll make sure to keep you in the loop.

Send this to friend