Cokie's Law Is Still On The Books

by digby


The CBO's findings, however, are for an incomplete piece of legislation, making the cost-per-coverage estimates much worse than they will ultimately be. Republicans on the committee knew this, according to Democrats. But they pushed for the bill to be studied by the CBO now. And when poor results came back, they ran with them.

"The reality is there are still some outstanding issues, including employer responsibility and a public insurance option," said a Democratic aide to a committee member. "Those are two outstanding issues. So what we did in a good faith effort to find bipartisan consensus, we did not include those elements because we are trying to find common ground. But Republicans wanted there to be a score even though, the reality is, if there is an incomplete bill you will have an incomplete statement."

Another Democratic aide to the HELP Committee member concurred, adding that Sen. Ted Kennedy's office, in an effort to "find bipartisan consensus with Republicans colleagues" filed the bill and allowed it to be scored by the CBO -- not expecting it to be used as partisan fodder.

I just don't know what to say about that. Aside from the thirty years of GOP bad faith and dirty tricks weren't they at least aware that this happened just a couple of months ago?

Reports of a recent study by the Congressional Budget Office, showing that the vast majority of the money in the stimulus package won't be spent until after 2010, have Democrats on the defensive and the GOP calling for a pullback in wasteful spending.

Funny thing is, there is no such report.

"We did not issue any report, any analysis or any study," a CBO aide told the Huffington Post.

Rather, the nonpartisan CBO ran a small portion of an earlier version of the stimulus plan through a computer program that uses a standard formula to determine a score -- how quickly money will be spent. The score only dealt with the part of the stimulus headed for the Appropriations Committee and left out the parts bound for the Ways and Means or Energy and Commerce Committee.

Because it dealt with just a part of the stimulus, it estimated the spending rate for only about $300 billion of the $825 billion plan. Significant changes have been made to the part of the bill the CBO looked at.

The CBO numbers were given to a small number of congressional Democrats and Republicans, but were not posted online because they're not an official CBO product. (Media outlets, while reporting widely about the "report," have declined to post it online. Here's the whole thing.) Democratic aides say they are certain that the GOP leaked it to the Associated Press in order to undercut the spending portion of the stimulus.

I guess it's "fool me once, fool me twice and just keep fooling me because I'm a fool."

The CBO's findings do create politically bad optics. In the end, however, the situation could be remedied when a full analysis is released sometime in the next week. Once the bill is scored with a stronger individual and/or employer mandate for coverage, as well as various other details, HELP Committee members fully expect the cost-per-coverage breakdown to improve significantly. For now, progressive activists in the health care debate are holding their breath, hoping that the next CBO findings have more resonance.

Let's hope so. But Cokie's Law says "it doesn't matter if it's true or not. It's out there."

I've already got trolls in the comment section, dripping with sanctimony, citing the lack of coverage as a reason not to support Health reform.