• Don’t kill the messenger

    Great piece by Stan Collender at Roll Call. Since it’s gated, I’m glad he also posted it on his blog:

    According to Gingrich, the CBO should be done away with because its analysis shows that, as enacted, health care reform reduces the federal budget deficit. This means that repealing it — as many in the GOP base to which Gingrich is appealing wants to do — will increase the deficit and, therefore, require spending cuts or revenue increases to offset the impact. That, of course, will make the repeal effort much harder and far less likely.

    I’ve discussed this before. The CBO is a non-partisan group that acts as the umpire for scoring proposals put forward by Congress. It scores programs at the request of Congress, from members of any party. Directors from both sides of the aisle support it and spoke against this:

    “If you are serious about real health reform, you must abolish the Congressional Budget Office because it lies,” Gingrich said at a Saturday debatewith embattled pizza entrepreneur Herman Cain. “Every hospital will tell you that if you get the family and patient involved, it is better and less expensive. The Congressional Budget Office refuses to see this as a savings. It wants more bureaucracy and less patient involvement.”

    You don’t kill the messenger. If you don’t like the way that the CBO scores a proposal, make a valid argument as to why it’s wrong. Or, better yet, make a new proposal that does an even better job. Back to Stan:

    But I can’t recall anyone else in the now almost 40 years since the CBO was created saying that it should be eliminated because she or he didn’t like its numbers. That may change the legislative environment, but it won’t change any of the budget realities. And that definitely should raise everyone’s blood pressure.

    Support for the CBO on this blog from Don, Austin, and me.

    • Ugh. Getting rid of CBO is the worst idea I have heard this year (and there are lots of candidates).

    • First they came for the Office of Technology Assessment (1995, Newt Gingrich, Executor of “Contract on America”), now they come for the CBO… what is next?

    • Disappointing but not surprising. I met with our congressman a few weeks ago with a few other docs to talk about health care (GOP congressman). After we talked over health care there was some general discussion. Several people pushed for eliminating the CBO. Fortunately, the congressman disagreed, but I think that the base would very much like to see the CBO gone. We should expect to hear this again.


    • Don’t forget that Newt allowed AHCPR to be attacked because of its finding that back surgery was of limited use in reducing back pain. After back surgeons criticized AHCPR its budget was reduced by 21% and Newt went along.