Tuesday, July 07, 2009
On Fox News' Special Report, following the June 15 release of a preliminary Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of an incomplete version of the Senate health committee's health reform bill, both chief political correspondent Carl Cameron and senior political analyst Brit Hume pointed to the analysis to claim that adding a public insurance option would substantially increase the bill's cost, thus endangering its passage. But no one on the program has yet noted that CBO's July 2 score of what the committee's chair referred to as the "complete bill" found that, in the words of CBO director Douglas W. Elmendorf, the public option "did not have a substantial effect on the cost ... projection."
Additionally, in the week following the release of the initial June 15 CBO score, Special Report hosts, analysts, and correspondents repeatedly suggested that the score indicated that the bill cost too much and did not insure enough people, using that in part to ask if, in the words of host Bret Baier, "Obama's goal of overhauling the nation's health care system [is] flat-lining on Capitol Hill." However, during the program's one brief mention of CBO's July 2 score since it was released in part on July 1, Special Report guest host Chris Wallace did not note that the cost estimates came from the CBO, instead attributing them to Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), nor did he explain that the new score found greater coverage of uninsured than the prior score -- information that undercuts prior suggestions that health reform is "flat-lining."
Indeed, according to CBO's July 2 score of the HELP bill, under the legislation, 21 million fewer Americans would be uninsured in 2019 than under current law. In a July 1 letter to members of the HELP committee, publicly released the following day, Kennedy and Dodd wrote that the "Congressional Budget Office has carefully reviewed our complete bill, and we are pleased to report that the CBO has scored it at $611.4 billion over 10 years, with the new coverage provisions scored at $597 billion" -- a cost they noted was a "significant reduction from earlier estimates." The preliminary score of the complete bill that the committee released stated that Title I of the bill would increase the deficit by $597 billion over 10 years....(Remainder.)