FoxNews.com falsely claimed CBO said "Senate health bill won't reduce deficits"

››› ››› JOCELYN FONG

A headline posted on FoxNews.com falsely claimed, "CBO: Senate Health Bill Won't Reduce Deficits." In fact, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) concluded that the bill would reduce federal deficits by $132 billion over 2010-2019 and would continue to reduce deficits in subsequent decades.

FoxNews.com falsehood: "CBO: Senate Health Bill Won't Reduce Deficits"

From FoxNews.com on December 21:

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In fact, CBO said Senate health care bill would reduce deficits over 10 years and beyond

FoxNews.com article: CBO said Senate bill "would not reduce long-term federal deficits as much as previously estimated." The FoxNews.com article, headlined, "CBO: Senate Health Bill Won't Reduce Deficits Quite as Much," to which the false headline linked stated that on December 20, CBO corrected a previous analysis of the Senate health care reform bill. The FoxNews.com article noted that CBO said "that while the correction has no bearing on estimates for the impact of the bill over the next decade, it does slightly reduce the amount of money the plan is expected to save for the 2020-2029 period":

The Congressional Budget Office said Sunday that the Senate health care bill would not reduce long-term federal deficits as much as previously estimated, acknowledging that it made an "error" in its original analysis.

CBO Director Doug Elmendorf wrote in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that while the correction has no bearing on estimates for the impact of the bill over the next decade, it does slightly reduce the amount of money the plan is expected to save for the 2020-2029 period.

The original estimate said the health care overhaul would yield deficit reductions worth about one-half percent of GDP -- the revision put that figure between one-quarter and one-half percent.

He also wrote that savings from Medicare cuts and changes would add up to about 10 to 15 percent per year in that period, compared with the 15 percent savings in the original projection.

Elmendorf said the legislation should still reduce budget deficits after 2019 -- but just not as much.

CBO: Manager's amendment still reduces 2020-2029 deficits more than original Senate bill. The FoxNews.com article did not make clear that the correction was made to CBO's December 19 analysis of the manager's amendment to the Senate health care bill, not to its original November 18 cost estimate of the bill. In the correction, CBO stated, "Relative to the legislation as originally proposed, the expected reduction in deficits during the 2020-2029 period remains somewhat larger for the legislation incorporating the manager's amendment."

CBO: Bill would reduce deficits over next 10 years and beyond. CBO concluded on December 19 that the Senate health care bill incorporating the manager's amendment "would yield a net reduction in federal deficits of $132 billion over the 2010-2019 period." In the following decade, CBO estimates that "the legislation, if enacted, would reduce federal budget deficits over the decade after 2019 relative to those projected under current law-with a total effect during that decade that is in a broad range between one-quarter percent and one-half percent of GDP." CBO stated in the December 19 analysis that following 2029, "CBO anticipates that the legislation would probably continue to reduce budget deficits relative to those under current law in subsequent decades, assuming that all of its provisions would continue to be fully implemented."

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Health Care, Health Care Reform
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