Moore claims "most analysts believe" health care bill "is a revenue loser"; CBO disagrees


On Fox, Wall Street Journal editorial board member Stephen Moore claimed that one reason the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the health care reform reconciliation package reduces the deficit is because it scored "10 years of revenue ... but only six years of spending," adding that "if you match up the cost with the revenues, I think most analysts believe that this is a revenue loser." In fact, CBO estimated that the bill will continue to lower the deficit after 2019, long after all the spending has kicked in.

Moore falsely claims "if you match up the cost with the revenues," the bill "is a revenue loser"

Moore claims spending and revenue "mismatch" kept bill from looking like a "revenue loser." From the March 18 edition of Fox News' On the Record with Greta Van Susteren:

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN (host): How do they say we're going to pay for this?

MOORE: OK. So, first of all, this is roughly a trillion -- let's just round it to about a trillion dollars over the next 10 years. But, remember, this runs into the problem we talked about a couple weeks ago that it's -- the way that CBO has scored it: 10 years of revenues, Greta, but only six years of spending. So, it's a mismatch.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK. All right, so, for 10 years we're going to be paying for it, but we don't get 10 years of services?

MOORE: Right. We get six years.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right.

MOORE: That's one way they keep the deficit down because they don't start spending until the year's out.

VAN SUSTEREN: But they start collecting.

MOORE: Right. And so, actually --

VAN SUSTEREN: That's like going -- that's like making a car payment for four years but they don't deliver the car for four years.

MOORE: Well put. I like that analogy, and --

VAN SUSTEREN: And so you sit there and wait.

MOORE: And so, in fact, if you match up the cost with the revenues, I think most analysts believe that this is a revenue loser.

VAN SUSTEREN: I think that's silly the way they do that.

CBO projected deficit reductions would continue after 2019

CBO: Senate bill yields "a net reduction in federal deficits of $138 billion" over 10 years. On March 18, CBO released its preliminary estimate of the effect of the combined effect of the Senate bill and reconciliation proposal on the federal budget. It found:

CBO and JCT estimate that enacting both pieces of legislation -- H.R. 3590 and the reconciliation proposal -- would produce a net reduction in federal deficits of $138 billion over the 2010-2019 period.

CBO: Over second 10 years, reconciliation bill would save "around one-half percent of GDP." CBO also estimated savings for the decade following the 2010-2019 period:

Therefore, CBO has developed a rough outlook for the decade following the 2010-2019 period by grouping the elements of the legislation into broad categories and (together with the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation) assessing the rate at which the budgetary impact of each of those broad categories is likely to increase over time.


Using that same analytic approach, the combined effect of enacting H.R. 3590 and the reconciliation bill would also be to reduce federal budget deficits over the ensuing decade relative to those projected under current law -- with a total effect during that decade that is in a broad range around one-half percent of GDP.

Posted In
Health Care, Health Care Reform
Wall Street Journal
Stephen Moore
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