CongressDaily reported yesterday: "CBO has scored the House healthcare overhaul bill at $1.5 trillion over 10 years, according to sources. House Ways and Means Democrats plan to help pay for the bill by raising taxes on people earning $250,000 or more and taxing sugary beverages, sources said."
Uh ... ok. What "sources"? Absent any further description -- Democratic sources? Republican sources? Ways and Means Committee sources? Some guy yelling at the clouds outside of Metro Center? -- this is a completely useless description.
CongressDaily may as well have attributed the information to "some guy." That would have been exactly as transparent and informative. Only nobody would take seriously a report that says "CBO has scored the health care bill at $1.5 trillion, according to some guy." So they fancy it up by changing "some guy" to "sources." But that doesn't give you any more reason to take it seriously -- you have no ability to assess the "sources'" credibility or motives based on CongressDaily's description.
And, sure enough, The Huffington Post's Jeff Muskus reported a little later that the CongressDaily report was wrong -- and Muskus attributed his report to an actual person, with an actual name. And to another source, with some descriptive information:
The Congressional Budget Office has not scored the House health care reform proposal, despite reports that it had estimated the plan would cost taxpayers upwards of $1.5 trillion, Melissa Merson, a CBO spokeswoman, told the Huffington Post.
CongressDaily reported earlier Tuesday that the package had been scored -- legislative lingo for a cost estimate -- at a figure that would make passage of the House bill in the Senate difficult.
The report caused a stir on the Hill and stoked fears of a setback.
"THERE. IS. NO. SCORE," e-mailed one frustrated committee aide.
Really makes you wonder about that CongressDaily "source," doesn't it? But wait! Muskus has more:
The Press Offices of the House Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce and Education and Labor Committees released the following statement today in response to an inaccurate report published in CongressDaily asserting that the House Tri-Committee health care reform legislation has been scored by the Congressional Budget Office:
"This report is premature and entirely fabricated. In fact, none of the reporters working on this piece contacted our press offices to fact check their story. The three House committees are still working to develop legislation and have not yet received a score from CBO on the discussion draft. As the three chairmen have made clear, our health care reform legislation will be paid for and we're still considering revenue options."
So, CongressDaily didn't bother to contact the communications staffs of the relevant committees; they just ran with a "report" based on who-knows-what, with no transparency, giving readers no ability to assess the credibility of the report -- and no reason to trust it.
CNN.com reported that Republicans are using "accounts from Canada to warn against government involvement in the health care system" without noting that Democrats have ruled out moving toward a Canadian-style system.
CNN, Fox News Channel, and MSNBC aired at least 15 segments to discussing the Congressional Budget Office's preliminary analysis of an incomplete version of the Senate health committee's draft health reform bill, but they have aired only one segment to the CBO's analysis of the updated bill.
Geoff Colvin falsely suggested that a CBO estimate of the Senate HELP Committee's health care bill demonstrated that a public option would come at a "huge cost" for a "minor benefit" in the number insured.
On Special Report, Carl Cameron and Brit Hume previously claimed that adding a public insurance option would substantially increase the cost of the Senate health committee's health reform bill, but the program has yet to note the CBO's finding to the contrary.
From the July 7 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:
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ABC and CBS evening newscasts both reported on the Congressional Budget Office's June 15 preliminary analysis of an incomplete version of the Senate, but they have yet to report on the CBO's analysis of the "complete bill."
From the July 1st edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
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"We need a public plan to keep the private plans honest."
But then why stop there? Eating is even more important than health care, so shouldn't we have government-run supermarkets "to keep the private ones honest"? After all, supermarkets clearly put profits ahead of feeding people. And we can't run around naked, so we should have government-run clothing stores to keep the private ones honest.
Supermarkets make money by selling people food. Clothing stores make money by selling people clothes. If they don't give people food/clothing, they don't get money.
Insurance companies, on the other hand, make money by selling people insurance -- and they make even more money by selling insurance, and then denying claims.
Surely even John Stossel can see the difference.
Media outlets have advanced the claim that a public plan option is too far out of the mainstream for the Senate to pass by reporting as fact that health care reform legislation would require 60 votes to pass. In fact, the Senate leadership could add health care reform to the budget reconciliation process, which requires a simple majority to pass.
Bret Baier falsely suggested that President Obama has cited Canada's medical system as a "possible model" for his health care reform plan. In fact, Obama has explicitly rejected a Canadian-style health care system.
Brian Kilmeade and Bret Baier falsely suggested that only Republicans had called the ABC health care special with President Obama an "infomercial." In fact, numerous Fox News personalities, including Kilmeade, and the network's Fox Nation website, echoed Republicans and called the ABC special an "infomercial."
Ceci Connolly wrote that "in an interview," Change Congress' Adam Green "was hard-pressed to articulate a substantive argument for the public plan." But Green says that he was answering a completely different question.
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Connolly then asked me why progressives were picking a political fight on the public option, as opposed to another issue. I guess the fact that it's the #1 domestic issue of the day -- one that affects millions of American families -- wasn't explanation enough.
I figured she was looking for a quote summarizing the political stakes, so I though for a moment and said, "The public option has become a proxy for the question of whether Democrats will stand on principle and represent their constituents."
I was quite proud of that answer. It summarizes what a lot of people are feeling -- the public option is the "line in the sand" issue for Democrats, something Chris has written about here on OpenLeft several times.
Connolly's take on that quote:
Green, in an interview, was hard-pressed to articulate a substantive argument for the public plan but said that it "has become a proxy for the question of Democrats who stand on principle and represent their constituents."
WHAT? Connolly asked me a question on the politics, and when I gave her an answer on that, she said I didn't answer on the substance? Did I mention Ceci Connolly is a r-i-d-i-c-u-l-o-u-s reporter?
FLASHBACK: In December 1 and December 2, 1999, Post articles, Connolly misquoted then-Vice President Al Gore, falsely claiming that he said he had discovered the Love Canal disaster. On February 17, 2000, Slate.com editor-at-large Jack Shafer wrote that New York Times reporter Katharine Q. "Kit" Seelye and Connolly were responsible for creating the false Love Canal story: "[I]t's Seelye's fault -- and the Washington Post's Ceci Connolly's -- that folks think Gore claimed credit for Love Canal in the first place. Which he didn't" [emphasis in original].