Harry Reid Wins a News Cycle

After several days of delays, the Senate finally released its health care reform legislation and the official Congressional Budget Office score to go along with it. Despite promises that the bill and the score would be available around 5 p.m. this evening, the CBO's full analysis wasn't released until fairly late in the evening, leaving most reporters with nothing to report but the headline numbers put out early on by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Needless to say, those numbers are the numbers Reid is happiest to have people see: According to a handout prepared for reporters this evening, the bill would cost about $850 billion, cover 94 percent of the uninsured, reduce the deficit by $127 billion over 10 years, and reduce the deficit by a further $650 billion over the following decade. Since the CBO's data-heavy 31-page report, which explains the assumptions behind those numbers, was released so late, those are the numbers that dominated the evening news, and they're also the numbers that will make headlines in newspapers tomorrow morning. 

Naturally, those reports won't include any detailed analysis of the bill's score. Nor will they include the any of the score's caveats, such as the CBO's caution that "the range of uncertainty surrounding that assessment [of the federal budgetary commitment to health care] is quite wide," or its now-familiar warning that "these longer-term calculations assume that the provisions are enacted and remain unchanged throughout the next two decades, which is often not the case for major legislation."

So whether it was by design or not, Harry Reid effectively won himself a news cycle by putting out the news he wanted people to see in advance of the substantive report.

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  • ||

    The furor over the mammogram recommendations demonstrates how fake these scores are. Some people fear that the bill will lead to service cuts; I think it's more likely that it won't, at least not for political popular diseases. It just means that all the savings are quite mythical and won't happen.

  • Mike Laursen||

    These Washington guys are good at what they do. Politics that is. They're not so good at actually solving national problems.

  • JB||

    Harry Reid and his group of Obama cunts has learned their lessons well from their communist heros.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    I'm sure most news agencies will surround Reid's numbers with caveats, though.

  • ||

    Come on Mike, you're a libertarian. . . I thought the government wasn't supposed to solve problems.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Government's good at solving a limited set of problems. Ushering in a new age without suffering, however? No.

  • Mike Laursen||

    It's a moot point whether I or anybody else thinks the Federal government should be out solving all our national problems (I don't, by the way) -- they can't do it for reasons Hayek explained.

  • *||

    Photo caption contest:

    "Up yours, America!"

  • BlueBook||

    Maybe that's how the health care plan works - placebo effect. If the patients believe the medicinal hype, they will feel better, even though the doctor knows very well they are only getting a very expensive sugar pill.

  • MJ||

    "...reduce the deficit by $127 billion over 10 years, and reduce the deficit by a further $650 billion over the following decade."

    That's rich! That's hilarious! No, stop, you're killing me here!

    It's going to cost a better part of $1 trillion (like that number is not a serious lowball), but it's going to reduce the deficit? In what magical fairyland does that accounting work?

  • Enemy Of The Revolution||

    How do you reduce the deficit while spending nearly a trillion dollars? Easy: tax people to death. From the report, it seems that most of the deficit reduction comes from "excise taxes on high-premium insurance plans."

    If our government wanted to make sure that its citizens have the best health care possible, then wouldn't they be happy that some people can afford greater benefits?
    When you make something more expensive, you sell less of it. Taxing high-premium plans means that fewer people will choose to buy those plans. Which would tend to put more of us into the same (sinking) boat.

  • MJ||

    Which means they are highballing any extra tax revenues.

  • Liberal||

    Misery for all! Whoohoo!

  • Xeones||

    Man, Harry Reid is the worst.

  • ||

    "excise taxes on high-premium insurance plans" means the 50k gold-plated CEO plans, who can afford to pay out of pocket and drop the plans -- and a few hundred thousand union cadillac plans, who will make sure this doesn't get in the final version.

    So, Bullshit.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    The CBO has never been anywhere close to being accurate in predicting the future costs of any of the entitlement programs that have been enacted in this country. They have massively underestimated every single one of them.

    This fact should be brought up at every opportunity by any of the public figures opposed to the Dem's plans in any debate or interview with the media.

    Also, the REAL cost of the plan is NOT just the amount of money flowing throught the U.S. Treasury but the ALL the increased costs to the American public created by all the taxes on medical device makers, the mandates on insurance companies about pre-existing conditions, etc.

    That should also be pointed out at every opportunity.

  • robc||

    Gilbert,

    Actually that should be easily fixable. The CBO can do a study to find the average ratio of underestimation and apply that to future bills.

  • robc||

    I bet its more of a curve, with a small factor on small bills and a large factor on large bills.

  • ||

    In what magical fairyland does that accounting work?

    The District of Columbia.

    Duh.

  • ||

    Doesn't this douchebag look like a kid who took his ball and went home, probably because he sucked at whatever sport they were playing?

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Gah!!

    I knew a kid like that in grade school... We used to play 4-Square, and he'd lose ALL the time - primarily because he was basically afraid of the ball and if he got hit he'd whine & cry - so his solution was to make "new rules". Eventually, there were so many rules to the damn game that we just quit playing entirely.

    I may have been 10 at the time... Early libertarian lesson learned: Frivolous, inhibiting rules make life suck.

  • Mike M.||

    The Senate bill, amazingly, is even bigger than the House tome (2,074 pages as opposed to a mere 1,990 pages).

    Senator Tom Coburn is supposedly threatening to read the entire the entire thing from cover to cover on the floor. Yeah, I'm sure that will happen!

  • eb||

    If there's one guy who would put on an old school filibuster, its him

  • Joshua Holmes||

    Well, at least someone will have read it.

  • ||

    ... the bill would cost about $850 billion, cover 94 percent of the uninsured, reduce the deficit by $127 billion over 10 years, and reduce the deficit by a further $650 billion over the following decade.

    If enacted, I'll wager the family farm that it increasese the debt over ten years and gets worse after that.

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