CNN’s Gergen Cites Non-Existent Newer CBO Report on GOP Health Care Bill

With the GOP’s new health care bill limping into Thursday’s vote in the House especially after the brutal Congressional Budget Office report, the media are taking every chance to give it one more kick. But during Tuesday’s CNN Tonight, commentator David Gergen claimed that the CBO had put out an even more damaging report. “We’ve just learned in last 24 hours the Congressional Budget Office says that: if you let this bill -- Obamacare, just die, you will have more people with insurance than if you put repeal and replace into place,” he claimed. But the kicker is the CBO did not put out such a report.

According to the CBO’s own publications webpage, the only reports to come out in the last 24-hours are: S. 576, Follow the Rules Act (March 21); H.R. 680, Eliminating Pornography from Agencies Act (March 21); H.R. 1029, Pesticide Registration Enhancement Act of 2017 (March 20); and H.R. 369, a bill to eliminate the sunset of the Veterans Choice Program, and for other purposes (March 20). None of those reports deal with the GOP health care proposal. And no, it’s definitely not in the pornography bill. And in addition, their site says that the last heath care assessment they put out was released on March 17. 

After scouring the internet, the only thing that gets close to Gergen’s claim is an article in The New York Times with the headline “Fewer Americans Would Be Insured With G.O.P. Plan Than With Simple Repeal.” The author purports that:

But one piece of context has gone little noticed: The Republican bill would actually result in more people being uninsured than if Obamacare were simply repealed. Getting rid of the major coverage provisions and regulations of Obamacare would cost 23 million Americans their health insurance, according to another recent C.B.O. report.

But that claim is misleading because what the author cites is a CBO report from January 2017, that’s obviously from long before the GOP bill was submitted for evaluation. Not only is that CBO report not in regard to the current proposal, it’s an evaluation of a bill from two-years-ago. “A little more than a year ago, the Congressional Budget Office and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimated the budgetary effects of H.R. 3762, the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015,” the documents starts off.

The New York Times writer went on to claim that the 2015 bill and the 2017 bill are quite similar. “In other words, one million more Americans would have health insurance with a clean repeal than with the Republican replacement plan, according to C.B.O. estimates,” they say, but the actual CBO report on the GOP’s proposal does not make the clean repeal assertion the author does.

Gergen followed up his baseless comment by quipping to host Don Lemon, “Isn't that amazing?” Lemon laughed and said “Yeah, that’s very interesting. Predicament I might say.” The only real predicament here is that a CNN commentator cited a government report that doesn’t exist. If it did exist, the liberal media would be shouting it from the rooftops to mock the GOP. 

Transcript below:

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CNN Tonight
March 21, 2017
10:10:09 PM Eastern

DON LEMON: David Gergen, might they change the dead line, move it from Thursday?

DAVID GERGEN: I think they’re going to take this up to the brink and see if they can bring those last voters in with a lot of pressure behind the scenes. And if they don't have the votes they’ll pull it. They won't go to vote on Thursday. Right on the brink if they don't have votes they’ll pull back and go back to the drawing board see if they can get something else done.

One of the things you face here is, I worked for Bill Clinton trying to get health care through, this is really hard work. Very -- seven presidents tried to get national health care. President Obama was the first one to succeed, and now his success I think looked bigger than ever because you realize now we’ve got an eighth president who’s struggling with it.

 So I do think in retrospect they should have thought a lot more about the policy and getting that right. Having something they could take to the country. The turning point in all of this was when that report came from the Congressional Budget Office saying that 23 - 24 million people would be without insurance in 2026. That's huge.

And Don it's so interesting, we’ve just learned in last 24 hours the Congressional Budget Office says that: if you let this bill -- Obamacare, just die, you will have more people with insurance than if you put repeal and replace into place. Isn't that amazing?

LEMON: [Laughs] Yeah, that’s very interesting. Predicament I might say.

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