Baucus Mark: CBO Preliminary Score

by Bruce Webb

CBO letter to Baucus

Estimated Budgetary Impact of the Amended Chairman’s Mark According to CBO and JCT’s assessment, enacting the Chairman’s mark, as amended, would result in a net reduction in federal budget deficits of $81 billion over the 2010–2019 period (see Table 1). The estimate includes a projected net cost of $518 billion over 10 years for the proposed expansions in insurance coverage. That net cost itself reflects a gross total of $829 billion in credits and subsidies provided through the exchanges, increased net outlays for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and tax credits for small employers; those costs are partly offset by $201 billion in revenues from the excise tax on high-premium insurance plans and $110 billion in net savings from other sources. The net cost of the coverage expansions would be more than offset by the combination of other spending changes that CBO estimates would save $404 billion over the 10 years and other provisions that JCT and CBO estimate would increase federal revenues by $196 billion over the same period.1 In subsequent years, the collective effect of those provisions would probably be continued reductions in federal budget deficits. Those estimates are all subject to substantial uncertainty.

For some reason the Table came out smaller than usual, in any event click to enlarge.

I haven’t read through this and will make only two preliminary notes. One the bill leaves $81 billion in wiggle room to allow changes and still not break Obama’s (rather foolish in my mind) demand that it be deficit neutral. Two is that on the cost side it is way under Obama’s $900 billion leaving plenty of room for additions as long as corresponding funding is found for any thing proposed in excess of the $81 billion. Now if the Senate Finance Committee can just get this thing voted on and approved we could get this show on the road.