NPR's Cornish ignored CBO's much lower estimate of health care bill's cost


On August 25, NPR's Audie Cornish reported that the House Democrats' health care reform proposal "is estimated to cost a trillion dollars over the next 10 years," without noting that the Congressional Budget Office has concluded that this cost would be largely offset by the savings and revenue increases in the bill. Taking these provisions into account, CBO estimated that the House bill would increase the deficit by $239 billion over 10 years, less than a quarter of the cost Cornish reported.

From the August 25 edition of NPR's All Things Considered:

SEN. OLYMPIA SNOWE (D-ME): What we have to do is develop a plan that's going to be -- you know, available for people on an affordable basis, and, secondly, containing costs both for the American consumer and the American taxpayer.

CORNISH: Snowe says the bipartisan group has moved away from offering a public insurance option and moved toward an option based on the regional health cooperatives found in the Midwest. And they are more determined than ever to present something less expensive than the House proposal, which is estimated to cost a trillion dollars over the next 10 years.

CBO: House bill would increase deficit by $239 billion -- not $1 trillion

CBO estimated House health care reform bill would increase deficit by $239 billion -- not $1 trillion. In its July 17 cost estimate of the bill as introduced, CBO explained that its "estimate reflects a projected 10-year cost of the bill's insurance coverage provisions of $1,042 billion, partly offset by net spending changes that CBO estimates would save $219 billion over the same period, and by revenue provisions that [the Joint Committee on Taxation] estimates would increase federal revenues by about $583 billion over those 10 years." CBO thus concluded the legislation "would result in a net increase in the federal budget deficit of $239 billion over the 2010-2019 period."

Despite lower CBO estimate, media repeatedly claim bill would "cost" $1 trillion

Numerous media figures and outlets falsely claimed bill would cost $1 trillion.

  • In an August 3 article, the Associated Press falsely claimed that "even the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says" health reform bills "with the elements Obama wants would add around $1 trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years."
  • On the August 2 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday, NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson asserted that the House bill "has a $1 trillion price tag over 10 years." Host Chris Wallace replied by suggesting that Liasson's statement was "true."
  • During the July 29 edition of Fox News' Hannity, Fox News political contributor Karl Rove claimed that House Democrats were "planning on a 1 trillion, 420 billion -- 420 million dollar price tag of additional spending over the next 10 years."
  • On July 28, The New York Times falsely reported that the House health care reform bill is estimated to cost "$1 trillion over 10 years."
  • During the July 27 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe, CNBC host Maria Bartiromo falsely asserted that the health care reform proposal under consideration in Congress would cost a "trillion dollars over 10 years."
Posted In
Health Care, Health Care Reform
Audie Cornish
All Things Considered
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