DNC - FACT CHECK - Senator Gregg: Wrong On Cost

Please see below for a fact check on false claims made by Senator Judd Gregg on MSNBC today:

RHETORIC: Gregg Said That The Senate Health Care Bill Cost $2.5 Trillion And That All The Debt It Would Create Would "Put Our Kids In A More Difficult Situation." Sen. Judd Gregg: "In fact, it becomes instead of an $846 or $864 billion it becomes a $2.5 trillion spending bill with over trillion dollars of Medicare cuts and over a trillion and a half dollars of tax increases and fee increases. So the numbers get pretty gigantic. My opinion is that. ... We know we're passing onto our kids a big debt they can't possibly pay. If you expand the government by $2.5 trillion and you know you're not paying for the whole thing, a lot of that flows to debt and put our kids in a more difficult situation where they inherit a government that can't afford and therefore their standard of living will go down because you end up with the tax burden going up dramatically or end up inflating the economy, both does serious damage to quality of life in this country." [MSNBC, 12/14/09]

REALITY: THE SENATE HEALTH CARE BILL WOULD SLASH THE DEFICIT BY OVER $750 BILLION IN THE NEXT 20 YEARS DESPITE WHAT THE REPUBLICANS CLAIM

Claim That Senate Bill Would Cost $2.5 Trillion Was Generated By Senate Budget Committee Republicans. Fox News reported that, “Republicans have countered the CBO estimate with a figure of their own: $2.5 trillion, an estimate that comes out of the Senate Budget Committee minority's analysis of Reid's plan.” [Fox News, 11/19/09]

Roll Call: Senate Bill “Slash[es] The Deficit By A Whopping $777 Billion Over The Next 20 Years. “At first blush, Reid scored a coup with his $849 billion bill, because Democrats said the Congressional Budget Office estimated that it would slash the deficit by a whopping $777 billion over the next 20 years while providing insurance for an additional 31 million Americans. The price tag is also less than the $900 billion President Barack Obama had called for and the $1.2 trillion cost of the House-passed version… ‘He was applauded. His staff was applauded,’ said Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), a deficit hawk who said Reid did ‘an exceptionally good job.’” [Roll Call, 11/18/09]

Ezra Klein On Senate Bill: CBO Statements Confirm That, “The Curve, As They Say, Is Bent.” The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein wrote of the Senate health reform bill: “One actual surprise is that the Senate bill doesn't just pay for itself. It balances itself out. That is to say, the bill is not deficit neutral because it costs a billion dollars and then the government raises a billion more dollars in taxes. In that scenario, the government is spending more, but paying for it. Rather, ‘CBO expects that, during the decade following the 10-year budget window, the increases and decreases in the federal budgetary commitment to health care stemming from this legislation would roughly balance out, so that there would be no significant change in that commitment.’ In the first 10 years, in other words, the bill improves the deficit a bit, but the government is spending $160 billion more on health care than it otherwise would have. In the second decade, however, that ends: The savings from Medicare and Medicaid, paired with the excise tax (which CBO says ‘is effectively a reduction in the existing tax expenditure for health insurance premiums’) and a handful of other changes, leaves the government spending no more on health care than it otherwise planned to. That's impressive stuff. And it implies, of course, that in the third decade, the federal commitment actually goes down relative to expectation. The curve, as they say, is bent.” [Washington Post – Ezra Klein, 11/19/09]

REALITY: REFORM WILL BE PAID FOR, WILL NOT INCREASE THE DEFICIT

WSJ: CBO’s Estimate Of Senate Bill Is $848 Billion, Cuts Deficit By $130 Billion. The Wall Street Journal reported that, “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid set the stage for a climactic debate in the Senate over health care by unveiling a 10-year, $848 billion bill that would extend insurance to 31 million Americans without coverage…In a boost for the bill's prospects, the CBO estimated the Senate measure would reduce the federal budget deficit by $130 billion over the next decade, and additional amounts over the second 10 years of the program. It achieves that in part through a new Medicare payroll tax and a tax on high-value insurance plans, which has aroused strong opposition…To help ease the financial burden on workers, Mr. Reid lowered the maximum amount the bill would require them to spend on premiums, capping premiums at 9.8% of income, down from 12%.” [Wall Street Journal, 11/19/09]

Roll Call On CBO Score: Senate Bill “Slash[es] The Deficit By A Whopping $777 Billion Over The Next 20 Years,” Sen. Kent Conrad Said Sen. Reid Did “An Exceptionally Good Job.” Roll Call reported that, “[a]t first blush, Reid scored a coup with his $849 billion bill, because Democrats said the Congressional Budget Office estimated that it would slash the deficit by a whopping $777 billion over the next 20 years while providing insurance for an additional 31 million Americans. The price tag is also less than the $900 billion President Barack Obama had called for and the $1.2 trillion cost of the House-passed version… ‘He was applauded. His staff was applauded,’ said Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), a deficit hawk who said Reid did ‘an exceptionally good job.’” [Roll Call, 11/18/09]