Politico Writer Health Care Advice to Obama: Ignore CBO

Julian E. Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University, wrote an incredibly bizarre article for Politico. He accurately declares that the biggest problem for the Obama administration's health care plan probably wouldn't be Republicans but the assessment by the Congressional Budget Office warning of a trillion dollar cost of the proposal. Zelizer's solution? Just ignore the CBO. Zelizer starts off firmly planted in the realm of reality:

The most potent threat to the Obama administration’s fledgling health may come not from the insurance industry or skeptical doctors but from the Congressional Budget Office.

Okay, good beginning, Julian. Just stay on track and try not to come to any sanity-challenged conclusions.

Earlier this week, CBO released preliminary estimates suggesting that the health care proposals — the most ambitious currently under discussion — from the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee would cost $1 trillion and trim the number of uninsured by only 16 million.

With a few more reports like this, CBO could quickly prove more damaging to the administration’s health care efforts than could Republican attacks about “socialized medicine.”

You're dead on here. It will be very hard even for Democrat legislators to justify voting for a health care plan given such a thumbs down by the CBO. Now how about some background on the CBO with respect to health care proposals?

The last Democratic president found out the hard way. CBO proved a major thorn in President Bill Clinton’s side when his administration pushed health reform in 1993-94. Because of pay-as-you-go budget rules in place at the time, any new spending proposals had to be matched by offsetting cuts. CBO, under the directorship of the widely respected Robert Reischauer, repeatedly frustrated the administration by casting aspects of the plan in politically unappealing ways. Clinton’s proposed employer premiums were labeled a tax, which then-Republican National Committee Chairman Haley Barbour and legions of GOP lawmakers and candidates seized on to repeatedly bash the president.

Interesting background material here on the CBO and the health care plan of 15 years ago although you let your bias show by using the word "bash" instead of "criticize" in the last sentence.

Sixteen years later, the Obama administration is pushing an ambitious and expensive health care overhaul just months after enactment of its massive economic recovery program that has already caused the size of the budget to explode. As CBO estimates about the high cost of the health care proposal emerge in coming months, Republicans will continue to pound Democrats about the impact on the deficit — the one issue on which the GOP finally seems to be gaining some political traction.

Health Care Politico
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