DNC - Lie, Distort, Delay: Senator Gregg and the GOP's Playbook on Health Insurance Reform

With Debate Underway for Less than Two Weeks, Senator Gregg and GOP Senators On Pace for Record Lies about Senate Health Insurance Reform Bill
 
With the Senate debate on the health insurance reform bill underway, many Republican Senators are attempting to defeat meaningful health insurance reform for the American people by distorting facts, fudging numbers, and in many cases, outright lying about the bill.
 
Right there with the Party of NO strategy of “lie, distort, delay” is Senator Gregg of New Hampshire. Less than two weeks into debate, Senator Gregg’s remarks on and off the Senate floor have resulted in the Democratic National Committee issuing numerous fact checks to debunk his many lies and mischaracterizations.
 
“Our goal with fact checking Republican Senators is to debunk their outlandish claims and to inform the American people of what they are doing to try and kill reform. We knew we had our work cut out for us with Senate Republicans, but no one could believe just how far they are willing to go to try and kill reform for the American people. Once again, Republicans are putting their political interests ahead of doing what it right - and once again they will find themselves on the wrong side history and the American people,” said DNC Spokesman Michael Czin.
 
Please see below for a compilation of the fact checks sent by the DNC to expose Senator Gregg’s many lies:
 
FACT CHECK GREGG: Wrong on cost and Medicare spending
 
Please see below for a fact check on comments made earlier today by Senator Gregg on MSNBC on cost and Medicare spending:
 
RHETORIC: Gregg Said That The Senate Health Care Bill Cost $2.5 Trillion And Reduces Medicare Spending By Half A Trillion Dollars. Sen. Judd Gregg: "The purpose of the senate is to be deliberative, as george washington described it. It's the saucer into which the coffee is poured. This bill came to the house in a week. It represents 16% of our national gross product. It affects everybody's life. This is a $2.5 trillion bill. It reduces Medicare spending by half a trillion dollars in the first 10 years." [MSNBC, 12/4/09]
 
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: MEDICARE SAVINGS DO NOT CUT BENEFITS, THEY STRENGTHEN MEDICARE
 
FactCheck.org: “We Never Have Said That Seniors Would Suffer ‘Massive Cuts To Medicare Benefits’ Under [Health Reform Legislation], And In Fact Have Done Our Best To Debunk [Those] Claims.” FactCheck.org wrote: “We never have said that seniors would suffer ‘massive cuts to Medicare benefits’ under the pending House or Senate overhaul bills, and in fact have done our best to debunk claims to that effect.” [FactCheck.org, 11/3/09]
 
AARP Applauded The Senate For Bill: “Makes Progress Towards Achieving Meaningful Relief For Millions Of Older Americans…Makes Improvements To The Medicare Program.” AARP said in a press release: “We applaud the Senate for merging the Finance and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committees’ bills and taking another important step toward fixing what’s wrong with our health care system. Under the leadership of Majority Leader Reid and Senators Baucus, Harkin and Dodd, the legislation announced today makes progress toward achieving meaningful relief for millions of older Americans who still face challenges accessing affordable, quality health care services. The new Senate bill makes improvements to the Medicare program by creating a new annual wellness benefit, providing free preventive benefits, and—most notably for AARP members—reducing drug costs for seniors who fall into the dreaded Medicare doughnut hole, a costly gap in prescription drug coverage.” [AARP, 11/18/09]
 
AARP Warned Seniors Against “Myths and Scare Tactics” In Health Reform Debate, Said “None Of The Health Care Reform Proposals Being Considered By Congress Would Cut Medicare Benefits.” AARP wrote in a myth-vs.-fact health reform website that, “There are special interest groups trying to block progress on health care reform by using myths and scare tactics. Like the notion that health care reform would ration your care, hurt Medicare or be a government takeover. Actually, these are false statements.” AARP concluded about the Medicare claim that, “[n]one of the health care reform proposals being considered by Congress would cut Medicare benefits or increase your out-of-pocket costs for Medicare services.” [AARP, Myths Vs. Facts]
 
FACT CHECK GREGG: Wrong on cost
 
Please see below for a fact check on Senator Gregg's erroneous comments made from the Senate floor on Thursday December 3rd that the CLASS Act would add trillions and that the bill would cost $2.5 trillion:
 
RHETORIC: Sen. Gregg Claimed That CLASS Act Would Add "Trillions More Of Unfunded Liability." "We know when you combine Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, we have a $55 trillion unfunded liability. If you calculate in the costs of the CLASS Act on top of that, you're adding potentially trillions more of unfunded liability which will all have to be paid by our children and grandchildren." [Senate Floor, 12/3/09]
 
RHETORIC: Sen. Gregg Claimed Once Again That Senate Bill Would Cost $2.5 Trillion. "When you know the program, the entire bill fully phased in it's $2.5 trillion in costs. $2.5 trillion in costs." [Senate Floor, 12/3/09]
 
REALITY: CBO ESTIMATED THAT CLASS ACT WOULD CUT THE DEFICIT BY $72 BILLION
 
CBO: Class Act Would Reduce Deficits “By About $72 Billion.” The CBO found in its estimate of the Senate health reform bill that the CLASS provisions, “would pay out far less in benefits than it would receive in premiums over the 10-year budget window, reducing deficits by about $72 billion over that period, including about $2 billion in savings to Medicaid.” [CBO Estimate, 11/18/09]
 
REALITY: SEN. GREGG'S $2.5 TRILLION NUMBER IS COMPLETELY MADE UP
 
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]
 
CBO: Class Act Would Reduce Deficits “By About $72 Billion.” The CBO found in its estimate of the Senate health reform bill that the CLASS provisions, “would pay out far less in benefits than it would receive in premiums over the 10-year budget window, reducing deficits by about $72 billion over that period, including about $2 billion in savings to Medicaid.” [CBO Estimate, 11/18/09]
 
WSJ: CBO 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]
 
 
REALITY: TO SEN. GREGG, IT SEEMS CBO IS ONLY NON-PARTISAN WHEN IT SUITS HIS PURPOSES TO OBSTRUCT HEALTH REFORM
 
Sen. Gregg Called CBO Director Testimony On Democratic Health Care Plan “A Severe Assessment From An Objective And Non-Partisan Agency.” In a statement, Sen. Gregg said, “‘Dr. Elmendorf today gave a sobering perspective on the implications of the majority's health care reform plan,’ said Senator Gregg. ‘He indicated that the present plans contain no significant changes to reduce federal costs relative to reimbursement and the overall health care structure; that many Americans won't see their insurance premiums go down and they may even go up; and that while the nation's debt continues to rise to unsustainable levels, there is little in these reform plans that will do anything but make it worse. ‘That is a severe assessment from an objective and non-partisan agency - I think it is a failing grade.’” [Sen. Gregg Statement, 7/16/09]
 
Sen. Gregg Relied On “Nonpartisan” CBO Numbers To Attack Democrats’ Incomplete Health Care Bill. In a press release, Sen. Gregg said, “On Monday, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a preliminary analysis estimating that this unfinished plan will increase spending by more than $1.3 trillion from 2010 to 2019. Senator Gregg stated, ‘CBO has estimated that the health care reform proposal put forth by the Democratic members of the Senate HELP Committee, even in its imperfect form, will increase spending by more than $1.3 trillion in the first ten years. That number is staggering, but what is more disturbing is that the estimate fails to reflect the true cost of the fully-implemented plan, which will ring in at more than $2.3 trillion over ten years.’” [Press Release, 6/17/09]
 
Sen. Gregg Had No Qualms Touting CBO Analysis To Claim That Medical Liability Reform Would Save $54 Billion. In a press release, Sen. Judd Gregg said, “According to CBO, comprehensive medical liability reform would reduce national health care costs by 0.5% – which translates to $11 billion in 2009 – and reduce federal budget deficits by approximately $54 billion over the next 10 years. In addition, reform would reduce medical liability insurance premiums for doctors – often their biggest expense and the reason why some must limit or even shut their practice…Unfortunately, none of the health reform bills being promoted by the Democratic leadership even begin to address the need for comprehensive medical liability reform.” [Press Release, 10/9/09]
 
FACT CHECK GREGG AND HATCH: Making up numbers, defending lies on Medicare
 
Please see below for a fact check on comments made by Senators Gregg and Hatch on December 2nd on the Senate floor, bringing new, unfounded numbers to the table and continuing to spread fear and lies on Medicare savings:
 
RHETORIC: Sen. Gregg Explained That His Hurried Staff Came Up With $2.5 Trillion Number As Estimate Of Senate Bill Cost. "Now, when my staff took a look at this bill and we only had a brief time to do it, obviously, last week and came up with that number, my budget staff, people said, on the other side of the aisle, regrettably, no, that's a bogus number. The number is $840 billion. It's not a $2.5 trillion bill. However, it is $2.5 trillion." [Senate Floor, 12/2/09]
 
REALITY: REPUBLICANS MADE UP $2.5 TRILLION COST ESTIMATE; THE CBO, A NON-PARTISAN ARBITER, ESTIMATED REFORM WOULD COST $848 BILLION, CUTTING DEFICITS BY $130 BILLION - AND UP TO $777 BILLION IN 20 YEARS
 
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]
 
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]
 
 
RHETORIC: Sen. Gregg Claimed Medicare Savings Would Not Be Used To Make Medicare More Solvent. "fully implemented, a trillion dollars, and then over a 19-year period, the two decades, by $3 trillion, instead of using those moneys, those seniors' dollars to try to make Medicare more solvent, they're going to be used for the purposes of expanding and creating a new entitlement and expanding Medicaid...Why would you use medicare savings, reductions in medicare benefits, which well definitely affect recipients for the purposes of creating a new program rather -- creating a new program rather than making medicare more solvent and if -- solvent, and if you're going to do that in the first place." [Senate Floor, 12/2/09]
 
REALITY: SENATE BILL EXTENDS MEDICARE SOLVENCY BY FIVE YEARS
 
AARP: “Budget Experts Say, Without Cutting Guaranteed Benefits, Both Bills Shore Up The Solvency Of The Medicare Trust Fund For Five Additional Years.” In the AARP Bulletin Today, it was noted that, “[i]n fact, budget experts say, without cutting guaranteed benefits, both bills shore up the solvency of the Medicare trust fund for five additional years.” [AARP Bulletin Today, 12/1/09]
 
2008: Medicare Chief Actuary Told Congress Paying Medicare Advantage Plans Only As Much As Traditional Medicare Would Lower Premiums, Extend Solvency. On April 1, 2008, the Chief Actuary of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Richard Foster, testified to Congress that, “if the law were changed such that the Medicare Advantage benchmarks will set up the level of the same cost as fee-for-service, then we estimate that would extend the solvency of the HI [Hospital Insurance] trust fund by about 18 months.” When asked how much Medicare Part B premiums had been increased because of the increased cost of Medicare Advantage, Foster replied, “we estimate that as of 2009, the additional premium for Part B associated with the higher benchmarks for Medicare Advantage is about $3 per month.” [Testimony, Richard Foster: The Financial Outlook for Medicare, House Ways & Means Committee Subcommittee on Health, 4/1/2008]
 
New York Times: Reform Will Enhance Drug Coverage, Reduce Premiums, and Help Keep Medicare Solvent. “Far from harming elderly Americans, the various reform bills now pending should actually make Medicare better for most beneficiaries — by enhancing their drug coverage, reducing the premiums they pay for drugs and medical care, eliminating co-payments for preventive services and helping keep Medicare solvent, among other benefits.” [New York Times, Editorial, 9/27/09]
 
 
 
RHETORIC: Sen. Hatch Claimed That Medicare Advantage Subsidies Were Required To Extend Care Coverage To Rural America. "So we did medicare advantage and all of a sudden we were able to take care of those people. Yes, it cost more, but it's because we had to go into the rural areas to do it...this would, in my opinion have a massively disruptive effect on people who get medicare because you're going to reduce it, the assumption, the scoring is that there will be a reduction in medicare advantage payments of approximately $162 billion, I believe it is, and there's no way you're going to keep getting medicare -- the advantages of medicare advantage if you have that type of reduction in payments." [Senate Floor, 12/2/09]
 
REALITY: MEDICARE ADVANTAGE EXTRA PAYMENTS HAVE BEEN WIDELY TARGETED AS WASTEFUL SPENDING
 
Medicare Advantage Health Economist: 86 Percent Of Extra MA Payments Went To Profits, Only 14 Percent Went To Extra Benefits – “Cuts To MA Should Be A No Brainer.” Health Economist Austin Frakt, a professor at Boston University, has studied Medicare Advantage plans extensively and wrote on his blog about his findings: “Payment to MA plans has gone way up since 2003. Did the payment increase largely benefit beneficiaries or not? This is a current political and policy debate, about which much has been written in the media (both traditional and blogospheric). It turns out the answer is known and quantifiable. My work (with Steve Pizer and Roger Feldman) shows that for each additional dollar spent by the federal government (taxpayers) on the program since 2003, just $0.14 of it can be attributed to additional value (consumer surplus) to beneficiaries (see also: findings brief). What do we make of the other $0.86? That goes to the insurance companies but doesn’t come out “the other end” in the form of value to beneficiaries. In part it is accounted for by the costs of the additional benefits and in part it is captured as additional insurer profit. So, do higher MA payments produce little value to beneficiaries, as Obama claims, or are the benefits they fund important to maintain, as Republicans would have us believe? The balance of the evidence is on Obama’s side. In fact, it is a landslide: for each dollar spent, 14% of the value reaches beneficiaries and 86% of it goes elsewhere (profit or cost). Cuts to MA should be a no brainer.” [Incidental Economist - Austin Frakt, 9/28/09]
 
Medicare Advantage Provides Extra Perks, Like Free Gym Memberships, That Are Subsidized By The Government And The High Costs Of The Plans Are Passed On To Seniors. "Seniors in this Sun Belt retirement haven and across the country revel in the free perks that private insurance companies bundle with legally mandated benefits to entice people 65 and older to forgo traditional Medicare and sign up for private Medicare Advantage policies. The trouble is, the extra benefits are not exactly free; they are subsidized by the government. And some of the plans pass their costs on to seniors, who pay higher co-pays and additional fees to get care. ... In a health-care debate defined by big numbers and confusing details, the prospect of losing benefits such as a free gym membership through the Silver Sneakers program is tangible, and it has spooked some seniors, who are the nation's most reliable voters and have been most skeptical about reform." [Washington Post, 10/15/09]
 
The AARP Supports Cutting Back Subsidies To Private Insurers In Medicare Advantage So They Are On A Level Playing Field With Medicare. AARP spokesman Jordan McNerney said: "We are in support of cutting back the subsidies to private insurers over time so they compete on a level playing field with traditional Medicare." [Los Angeles Times, 8/19/09]
 
GOP Opposition To Medicare Advantage Competitive Bidding Is Interesting: “Republicans Have Mounted A Ferocious Defense Of The Market’s Right To Continue Burning Through Taxpayer Dollars.” The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein commented on Republican anger at the prospect of competitive bidding to lower overpayments to Medicare Advantage programs: “[i]t is also an interesting moment of insight into the conservative philosophy on these matters. The problem with government programs, we're often told, is that they are expensive and wasteful, and the private market could do better. But faced with an instance where the government program proved relatively lean and efficient, and the private market expensive and wasteful, Republicans have mounted a ferocious defense of the market's right to continue burning through taxpayer dollars.” [Washington Post – Ezra Klein, 9/24/09]
 
2008: Congressional Medicare Commission: Private Medicare Advantage Programs are “Much Like Traditional Medicare, Except At A Higher Cost.” According to a report by the Medicare Payment Advisor Commission (MedPAC), “By increasing payment to levels significantly above Medicare, we have changed the signal we are sending to the market: instead of efficiency-enhancing innovation, we are getting plans…that are much like traditional Medicare, except at a higher cost.” [Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, Report to the Congress: Medicare payment policy, 2008]
 
FACT CHECK GREGG: Gregg's Hypocrisy On The Debt
 
Please see below for the DNC’s response to Sen. Gregg's claim on the Senate floor on November 21st that the health care bill cost "a lot of money," in light of his years of support for the Bush administration policies that exploded the debt.
 
RHETORIC: Gregg Complained That The Health Care Bill Cost "A Lot Of Money." Sen. Judd Gregg: "How they get to this number of $890 Billion this bill, which by the way that's a lot of money, money, $800 billion. ... It's a lot of money, $800 billion-plus." [Senate Floor, 11/21/09]
 
REALITY: THE SENATE HEALTH CARE BILL WOULD SLASH THE DEFICIT BY OVER $750 BILLION IN THE NEXT 20 YEARS AND BEND THE COST CURVE OVER THE LONG RUN
 
Roll Call: 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]
 
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: GREGG SUPPORTED THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION AGENDA THAT EXPLODED THE DEBT, AND LEFT THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION WITH A $1.3 TRILLION BUDGET DEFICIT
 
Gregg Voted for 5 of 5 Bush Budgets Totaling $12 Trillion In Spending.Senator Judd Gregg voted five times for President Bush’s budget plan, supporting five of the five budgets under a Republican controlled Congress and presidency and totaling $12 trillion in government spending. [2001 Senate Vote #98, 5/10/01, 2003 Senate Vote #134, 4/11/03; 2004 Senate Vote #58, 3/12/04; 2005 Senate Vote #114, 4/28/05; 2006 Senate Vote #74, 3/16/06]
 
The Bush Administration Added More Than $4 Trillion To The National Debt, Almost Doubling It. "With no fanfare and little notice, the national debt has grown by more than $4 trillion during George W. Bushs presidency. Its the biggest increase under any president in U.S history. On the day President Bush took office, the national debt stood at $5.727 trillion. The latest number from the Treasury Department shows the national debt now stands at more than $9.849 trillion. Thats a 71.9 percent increase on Mr. Bushs watch." [CBS News, 9/29/08]
 
CBO: Obama Administration Inherited $1.2 Trillion Budget Deficit From Bush Administration-Largest Ever. For fiscal year 2009, which began on October 1st of 2008, the federal government will run $1.2 trillion in the red, said the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) in a “dire projection” on Jan. 7th 2009. As a percentage of gross domestic product, the 2009 budget deficit is the largest since WWII, but in dollar terms it is the largest ever. [Christian Science Monitor, 1/7/09; Washington Post, 2/26/09; Associated Press, 1/7/09] 
 
Cantor Admitted That During The Bush Administration They Blew It "In Terms Of Restoring Fiscal Sanity." When asked why he voted "yes" for 46,000 Bush-era earmarks, Cantor said he had "clearly" made mistakes and a delivered a moderate mea culpa on deficit spending during Bush times. "Did we blow it in terms of restoring fiscal sanity? Absolutely," he said, explaining, "We were in a time, I think, when the responsibility then was to make sure we could provide the money for the troops." [Politico, 3/15/09]
 
FACT CHECK: SEN. GREGG LIES ABOUT PRICE OF HEALTH INSURANCE REFORM...AGAIN
 
On Friday evening on CNN Senator Judd Gregg again repeated his earlier debunked claim that the actual cost of Health Insurance Reform is $2.5 trillion, which he earlier made this morning:
 
“I genuinely believe we need health care reform but it has to be done on a step-by-step basis and thought fully, not in a way that expands the size of the government by $2.5 trillion. That's how much it will cost when it's fully implemented... that's not debatable. it comes out of the cbo... that number is a 10-year number with the program starting in the fourth and fifth year. if you take ten years when the program is fully implemented throughout the whole ten years, it's $2.5 trillion so that number is sort of a bait and switch number.” [Gregg CNN Interview, 11/20/09]
Despite praising the CBO as “objective” and “non-partisan”, New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg, speaking against health care reform on the Senate floor today, cited skewed data crafted by Republican members of the Senate Budget Committee which drastically and inaccurately inflates the cost of the bill over data from the independent Congressional Budget Office he previously praised. See below for more on Senator Gregg's distortions:
 
RHETORIC: Sen. Gregg Claimed Actual Cost Was $2.5 Trillion, From CBO: “That's a lot of money, $897 billion or or $800 billion-plus. But that's not a real number. That's a phony number. That's a bait-and-switch number… well, when that occurs, this bill costs by CBO's estimate $2.5 trillion.” [Gregg Floor Speech, 11/20/09]
 
RHETORIC: Sen. Gregg Used “CBO’s Objective, Non-Partisan Analysis” To Criticize President Obama’s 2010 Budget. In a press release, Sen. Gregg said, “[t]oday’s Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of the President’s complete Fiscal Year 2010 budget as submitted to Congress on May 7th again paints a bleak picture for the U.S. economy in the years ahead, as spending and borrowing result in publicly-held debt tripling by 2019…’CBO’s objective, non-partisan analysis again raises red flags that we cannot continue to ignore. The President’s economic agenda is unrealistic, unsustainable, and will crush economic opportunities for our children and grandchildren unless we take action to get our fiscal house in order.’” [Press Release, 6/17/09]
 
REALITY: SEN. GREGG HAS NO PROBLEM MAKING UP NUMBERS FOR CBO, EVEN THOUGH HE SAID THEY WERE “OBJECTIVE, NON-PARTISAN.”
 
Claim That Senate Bill Would Cost $2.5 Trillion Was Generated By Senate Budget Committee Republicans, Not CBO. 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]
 
CBO On Senate Bill: “Net Cost Itself Reflects A Gross Total Of $848 Billion”—Not $2.5 Trillion. [Congressional Budget Office, 11/18/09]
 
RHETORIC: Sen. Gregg Claimed States Would Lose Out Under Reform Because Of Medicaid Expansion: “The states, the states are just going to be taken to the cleaners by this bill. The allegation that you're going to expand Medicaid by 20 million to 30 million people and the states aren't going to end up paying a huge bill as a result of that?” [Gregg Floor Speech, 11/20/09]
 
REALITY: STATE MEDICAID PROGRAMS BENEFIT UNDER REFORM
 
CBO On Senate Bill: Federal Government Would Cover On Average 90% Of Additional Medicaid Costs, Up From 57% Currently; Federal Money Would Cover Higher Proportion Of CHIP Costs, Increasing From An Average Of 70 Percent To 93 Percent. The CBO concluded that the Senate reform legislation affected Medicaid in the following way: “Starting in 2014, most nonelderly people with income below 133 percent of the FPL would be made eligible for Medicaid. The federal government would pay all of the costs of covering newly eligible enrollees through 2016; in subsequent years, the share of federal spending would vary somewhat from year to year but ultimately would average about 90 percent. (Under current rules, the federal government usually pays about 57 percent, on average, of the costs of Medicaid benefits.)…Beginning in 2014, states would receive higher federal reimbursement for CHIP beneficiaries, increasing from an average of 70 percent to 93 percent. CBO estimates that state spending on Medicaid would increase by about $25 billion.” [Congressional Budget Office, 11/18/09]
 
“Senate Staff Members Say The Governors Are Being Heard, And That Measures To Cut Other Health Care Costs In The Legislation Will Eventually Alleviate Their Concerns” On Added Medicaid Burden. The New York Times reported on nervousness from state governors based on concerns that some of the costs of Medicaid expansion would be shouldered by beleaguered states: “Senate staff members say the governors are being heard, and that measures to cut other health care costs in the legislation will eventually alleviate their concerns.” [New York Times, 8/7/09]
 
REALITY: WITHOUT REFORM, STATE BUDGETS WILL COLLAPSE
 
Study: If Reform Fails, “All States Would See Their Medicaid/CHIP Costs Rise By More Than 75 Percent From 2009 To 2019. Half The States Would Face Cost Increases Of More Than 100 Percent.” The Robert-Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute completed a study on the potential costs to states if health reform failed. The main findings for health care spending were: “In the worst case, all states would see their Medicaid/CHIP costs rise by more than 75 percent from 2009 to 2019. Half the states would face cost increases of more than 100 percent. Even in the best case, 13 states would experience Medicaid/CHIP cost growth of more than 65 percent. In the worst case, uncompensated care costs would more than double from 2009 to 2019 in 45 states. Even in the best case, uncompensated care would increase by more than 50 percent in 48 states.” [RWJF: The Cost Of Failure, 9/28/09]
 
RHETORIC: Sen. Gregg Claimed That Senate Bill Would Force Everyone Into Public Plan Eventually:“Well, it does what this bill is basically intended to do. It will force employers to drop private insurance and push people over onto the public plan, and that when you get down to it is what this is all about. This is an exercise at having the federal government basically get control over all health care, and it's being done in a -- in an incremental way.” [Gregg Floor Speech, 11/20/09]
 
REALITY: CBO SAID PUBLIC OPTION WOULD ENROLL ONLY 3 TO 4 MILLION
 
CBO On Senate Bill: Public Plan Would Enroll Between 3 And 4 Million. In its estimate of the Senate reform bill, CBO wrote: “Roughly one out of eight people purchasing coverage through the exchanges would enroll in the public plan, CBO estimates, meaning that total enrollment in that plan would be 3 million to 4 million.” [Congressional Budget Office, 11/18/09]
 
Wall Street Analyst To Health Insurance Industry: Public Option “Looks Like A [Blue Cross Blue Shield] Plan,” Which Are “Strong Competitors For Private Insurers, But Not Deadly Ones.” The New York Times Prescriptions Blog wrote, “[i]n a report sent to investors earlier this week, a Wall Street analyst, Richard Evans, concludes that the health insurance industry should probably not worry much about the prospect of a government-run health plan — at least not as it now is taking shape in Congress. As things stands now, Mr. Evans notes, the proposed legislation does not call for the new government-run plan, or public option, to be able to demand the same low prices that Medicare gets from doctors and hospitals. Private insurers have argued that Medicare-pegged rates would give the public option an unfair advantage over their plans… ‘It appears the public option would be required to negotiate price with providers, pay back its start-up capital, cover its operating costs, and earn sufficient reserves,’ wrote Mr. Evans, a managing partner for Sector & Sovereign. ‘In other words, it looks like a Blues plan.’ Mr. Evans writes that the not-for-profit Blue Cross plans may be strong competitors for private insurers, but not deadly ones. Where they operate, he notes, they tend to have the largest share of the market but seem to be able to co-exist with for-profit insurance companies. ‘This suggests that a not-for profit public option has some enrollment advantages over for-profit commercial insurers, but that the effect is modest,’ he wrote.” [New York Times Prescriptions Blog, 11/3/09]
 
RHETORIC: Sen. Gregg Claimed Reform Was All About A Washington Takeover Of Health Care: “And this bill is all about moving power here to Washington. That's what this legislation is about. It's about centralizing the decision process, the national decision process on health care.” [Gregg Floor Speech, 11/20/09]
 
REALITY: SUCH FEARS ARE BASELESS AND IRRESPONSIBLE
 
Fox’s Shep Smith To Sen. John Barrasso: “It’s Not A Government Takeover, Senator! That’s Not Fair And We Both Know It.” Fox News’ Shep Smith confronted Sen. John Barrasso over his boilerplate GOP talking points calling health reform a “government takeover,” and said: “SMITH: It’s not a government takeover, Senator! That’s not fair and we both know it. It’s not a government takeover because what it would be is a government option if you have insurance now and you like it you can keep it…That’s not a government take over if we’re being fair is it, Senator?...As the costs have gone up, the insurance industry’s profits on average have gone up more than 350 percent and it’s the insurance companies which have paid and have contributed to Senators and congressman on both sides of the aisle to the point where now, we can’t get…what more than 60 percent of Americans say they support, is a public option. This has been an enormous win for the health care industry. That is an unquestioned fact.” [FOX News, 10/6/09]
 
Sen. Frist Now Makes “Three Former Republican Senate Majority Leaders Who Have Endorsed The Sorts Of Reforms President And His Allies Are Pushing…For All Of The Crazy Talk About A Radical Government Takeover, Health Care Reform 2009 Is An Amalgam Of Compromises.” Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic noted that, “[f]or those keeping a tally, that's three former Republican Senate Majority Leaders who have endorsed the sorts of reforms President Obama and his allies are pushing. Previously, Howard Baker and Bob Dole signed on to a plan they negotiated with Tom Daschle and George Mitchell, former Democratic counterparts, through the auspices of the Biparitsan Policy Center. And this is as it should be. For all of the crazy talk about a radical government takeover, health care reform 2009 is an amalgam of compromises, many based on ideas taken straight from former Republican proposals--the kind of proposal, in other words, at least a few Republicans should be able to embrace in good faith. Now if only some currently serving members of the party could take a cue from the retired elder statesmen.” [The New Republic, 10/2/09]
 
Sen. Dole: “I Want This To Pass…I Don’t Agree With Everything Obama Is Presenting, But We’ve Got To Do Something…I Don’t Want The Republicans Putting Up A ‘No’ Sign And Saying, ‘We’re Not Open For Business.’” Former Senate Majority Leader Bob “Dole, to his credit, is having none of it. ‘I want this to pass,’ he said. ‘I don't agree with everything Obama is presenting, but we've got to do something.’ He added: ‘I don't want the Republicans putting up a “no” sign and saying, “we're not open for business.”’” [Kansas City Star, 10/7/09]
 
FactCheck.org: Under Obama’s Health Care Plan, “Nobody Would Be Forced To Drop His Or Her Current Insurance.” “Obama has long said he would allow individuals or small businesses to buy insurance through a public plan – like the one now available to members of Congress. But nobody would be forced to drop his or her current insurance, and private plans would exist as they do now. This was the health care plan he promoted as a presidential candidate.” [FactCheck.org, 5/1/09]
 
AMA President-Elect Reassured: Physicians And Patients Don’t Need To Fear The Rise Of A Monolithic Health System With No Choice From President Obama. The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reported that “American Medical Association president-elect Dr. James Rohack told Mississippi doctors Friday…Physicians and patients don't need to fear the rise of a monolithic health system with no choice, because it's not something the American people would accept, Rohack said. The president didn't advocate a single-payer system for the United States at the meeting, Rohack said. Obama said he believes in access to health care for all with a system that is a mix of public and private sources with patients still able to see the physicians of their choice.” [Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, 5/30/09]
 
FACT CHECK GREGG – GREGG IGNORES CBO
 
Despite praising the CBO as “objective” and “non-partisan”, New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg, speaking against health care reform on the Senate floor on Friday, cited skewed data crafted by Republican members of the Senate Budget Committee which drastically and inaccurately inflates the cost of the bill over data from the independent Congressional Budget Office he previously praised. See below for more on Senator Gregg's distortions:
 
 
RHETORIC: Sen. Gregg Claimed Actual Cost Was $2.5 Trillion, From CBO: “That's a lot of money, $897 billion or or $800 billion-plus. But that's not a real number. That's a phony number. That's a bait-and-switch number… well, when that occurs, this bill costs by CBO's estimate $2.5 trillion.” [Gregg Floor Speech, 11/20/09]
 
RHETORIC: Sen. Gregg Used “CBO’s Objective, Non-Partisan Analysis” To Criticize President Obama’s 2010 Budget. In a press release, Sen. Gregg said, “[t]oday’s Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of the President’s complete Fiscal Year 2010 budget as submitted to Congress on May 7th again paints a bleak picture for the U.S. economy in the years ahead, as spending and borrowing result in publicly-held debt tripling by 2019…’CBO’s objective, non-partisan analysis again raises red flags that we cannot continue to ignore. The President’s economic agenda is unrealistic, unsustainable, and will crush economic opportunities for our children and grandchildren unless we take action to get our fiscal house in order.’” [Press Release, 6/17/09]
 
REALITY: SEN. GREGG HAS NO PROBLEM MAKING UP NUMBERS FOR CBO, EVEN THOUGH HE SAID THEY WERE “OBJECTIVE, NON-PARTISAN.”
 
Claim That Senate Bill Would Cost $2.5 Trillion Was Generated By Senate Budget Committee Republicans, Not CBO. 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]
 
CBO On Senate Bill: “Net Cost Itself Reflects A Gross Total Of $848 Billion”—Not $2.5 Trillion. [Congressional Budget Office, 11/18/09]
 
RHETORIC: Sen. Gregg Claimed States Would Lose Out Under Reform Because Of Medicaid Expansion: “The states, the states are just going to be taken to the cleaners by this bill. The allegation that you're going to expand Medicaid by 20 million to 30 million people and the states aren't going to end up paying a huge bill as a result of that?” [Gregg Floor Speech, 11/20/09]
 
REALITY: STATE MEDICAID PROGRAMS BENEFIT UNDER REFORM
 
CBO On Senate Bill: Federal Government Would Cover On Average 90% Of Additional Medicaid Costs, Up From 57% Currently; Federal Money Would Cover Higher Proportion Of CHIP Costs, Increasing From An Average Of 70 Percent To 93 Percent. The CBO concluded that the Senate reform legislation affected Medicaid in the following way: “Starting in 2014, most nonelderly people with income below 133 percent of the FPL would be made eligible for Medicaid. The federal government would pay all of the costs of covering newly eligible enrollees through 2016; in subsequent years, the share of federal spending would vary somewhat from year to year but ultimately would average about 90 percent. (Under current rules, the federal government usually pays about 57 percent, on average, of the costs of Medicaid benefits.)…Beginning in 2014, states would receive higher federal reimbursement for CHIP beneficiaries, increasing from an average of 70 percent to 93 percent. CBO estimates that state spending on Medicaid would increase by about $25 billion.” [Congressional Budget Office, 11/18/09]
 
“Senate Staff Members Say The Governors Are Being Heard, And That Measures To Cut Other Health Care Costs In The Legislation Will Eventually Alleviate Their Concerns” On Added Medicaid Burden. The New York Times reported on nervousness from state governors based on concerns that some of the costs of Medicaid expansion would be shouldered by beleaguered states: “Senate staff members say the governors are being heard, and that measures to cut other health care costs in the legislation will eventually alleviate their concerns.” [New York Times, 8/7/09]
 
REALITY: WITHOUT REFORM, STATE BUDGETS WILL COLLAPSE
 
Study: If Reform Fails, “All States Would See Their Medicaid/CHIP Costs Rise By More Than 75 Percent From 2009 To 2019. Half The States Would Face Cost Increases Of More Than 100 Percent.” The Robert-Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute completed a study on the potential costs to states if health reform failed. The main findings for health care spending were: “In the worst case, all states would see their Medicaid/CHIP costs rise by more than 75 percent from 2009 to 2019. Half the states would face cost increases of more than 100 percent. Even in the best case, 13 states would experience Medicaid/CHIP cost growth of more than 65 percent. In the worst case, uncompensated care costs would more than double from 2009 to 2019 in 45 states. Even in the best case, uncompensated care would increase by more than 50 percent in 48 states.” [RWJF: The Cost Of Failure, 9/28/09]
 
RHETORIC: Sen. Gregg Claimed That Senate Bill Would Force Everyone Into Public Plan Eventually:“Well, it does what this bill is basically intended to do. It will force employers to drop private insurance and push people over onto the public plan, and that when you get down to it is what this is all about. This is an exercise at having the federal government basically get control over all health care, and it's being done in a -- in an incremental way.” [Gregg Floor Speech, 11/20/09]
 
REALITY: CBO SAID PUBLIC OPTION WOULD ENROLL ONLY 3 TO 4 MILLION
 
CBO On Senate Bill: Public Plan Would Enroll Between 3 And 4 Million. In its estimate of the Senate reform bill, CBO wrote: “Roughly one out of eight people purchasing coverage through the exchanges would enroll in the public plan, CBO estimates, meaning that total enrollment in that plan would be 3 million to 4 million.” [Congressional Budget Office, 11/18/09]
 
Wall Street Analyst To Health Insurance Industry: Public Option “Looks Like A [Blue Cross Blue Shield] Plan,” Which Are “Strong Competitors For Private Insurers, But Not Deadly Ones.” The New York Times Prescriptions Blog wrote, “[i]n a report sent to investors earlier this week, a Wall Street analyst, Richard Evans, concludes that the health insurance industry should probably not worry much about the prospect of a government-run health plan — at least not as it now is taking shape in Congress. As things stands now, Mr. Evans notes, the proposed legislation does not call for the new government-run plan, or public option, to be able to demand the same low prices that Medicare gets from doctors and hospitals. Private insurers have argued that Medicare-pegged rates would give the public option an unfair advantage over their plans… ‘It appears the public option would be required to negotiate price with providers, pay back its start-up capital, cover its operating costs, and earn sufficient reserves,’ wrote Mr. Evans, a managing partner for Sector & Sovereign. ‘In other words, it looks like a Blues plan.’ Mr. Evans writes that the not-for-profit Blue Cross plans may be strong competitors for private insurers, but not deadly ones. Where they operate, he notes, they tend to have the largest share of the market but seem to be able to co-exist with for-profit insurance companies. ‘This suggests that a not-for profit public option has some enrollment advantages over for-profit commercial insurers, but that the effect is modest,’ he wrote.” [New York Times Prescriptions Blog, 11/3/09]
 
RHETORIC: Sen. Gregg Claimed Reform Was All About A Washington Takeover Of Health Care: “And this bill is all about moving power here to Washington. That's what this legislation is about. It's about centralizing the decision process, the national decision process on health care.” [Gregg Floor Speech, 11/20/09]
 
REALITY: SUCH FEARS ARE BASELESS AND IRRESPONSIBLE
 
Fox’s Shep Smith To Sen. John Barrasso: “It’s Not A Government Takeover, Senator! That’s Not Fair And We Both Know It.” Fox News’ Shep Smith confronted Sen. John Barrasso over his boilerplate GOP talking points calling health reform a “government takeover,” and said: “SMITH: It’s not a government takeover, Senator! That’s not fair and we both know it. It’s not a government takeover because what it would be is a government option if you have insurance now and you like it you can keep it…That’s not a government take over if we’re being fair is it, Senator?...As the costs have gone up, the insurance industry’s profits on average have gone up more than 350 percent and it’s the insurance companies which have paid and have contributed to Senators and congressman on both sides of the aisle to the point where now, we can’t get…what more than 60 percent of Americans say they support, is a public option. This has been an enormous win for the health care industry. That is an unquestioned fact.” [FOX News, 10/6/09]
 
Sen. Frist Now Makes “Three Former Republican Senate Majority Leaders Who Have Endorsed The Sorts Of Reforms President And His Allies Are Pushing…For All Of The Crazy Talk About A Radical Government Takeover, Health Care Reform 2009 Is An Amalgam Of Compromises.” Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic noted that, “[f]or those keeping a tally, that's three former Republican Senate Majority Leaders who have endorsed the sorts of reforms President Obama and his allies are pushing. Previously, Howard Baker and Bob Dole signed on to a plan they negotiated with Tom Daschle and George Mitchell, former Democratic counterparts, through the auspices of the Biparitsan Policy Center. And this is as it should be. For all of the crazy talk about a radical government takeover, health care reform 2009 is an amalgam of compromises, many based on ideas taken straight from former Republican proposals--the kind of proposal, in other words, at least a few Republicans should be able to embrace in good faith. Now if only some currently serving members of the party could take a cue from the retired elder statesmen.” [The New Republic, 10/2/09]
 
Sen. Dole: “I Want This To Pass…I Don’t Agree With Everything Obama Is Presenting, But We’ve Got To Do Something…I Don’t Want The Republicans Putting Up A ‘No’ Sign And Saying, ‘We’re Not Open For Business.’” Former Senate Majority Leader Bob “Dole, to his credit, is having none of it. ‘I want this to pass,’ he said. ‘I don't agree with everything Obama is presenting, but we've got to do something.’ He added: ‘I don't want the Republicans putting up a “no” sign and saying, “we're not open for business.”’” [Kansas City Star, 10/7/09]
 
FactCheck.org: Under Obama’s Health Care Plan, “Nobody Would Be Forced To Drop His Or Her Current Insurance.” “Obama has long said he would allow individuals or small businesses to buy insurance through a public plan – like the one now available to members of Congress. But nobody would be forced to drop his or her current insurance, and private plans would exist as they do now. This was the health care plan he promoted as a presidential candidate.” [FactCheck.org, 5/1/09]
 
AMA President-Elect Reassured: Physicians And Patients Don’t Need To Fear The Rise Of A Monolithic Health System With No Choice From President Obama. The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reported that “American Medical Association president-elect Dr. James Rohack told Mississippi doctors Friday…Physicians and patients don't need to fear the rise of a monolithic health system with no choice, because it's not something the American people would accept, Rohack said. The president didn't advocate a single-payer system for the United States at the meeting, Rohack said. Obama said he believes in access to health care for all with a system that is a mix of public and private sources with patients still able to see the physicians of their choice.” [Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, 5/30/09]
 
GREGG COMPLAINS ABOUT DEBT HE HELPED CREATE
 
On Fox News on Friday, November 20th Senator Judd Gregg continued his hypocritical assaults on the Senate health care bill and the deficit. Gregg called the CBO numbers a "game of bait and switch" even though the CBO found that the bill would not only be deficit neutral in the first 10 years but it would also significantly reduce the rate of growth in health care spending, leading to more than $750 billion in savings over the next 20 years. While Gregg seems to enjoy complaining about the debt and about a bill that would not add a dime to the deficit in the first 10 years, we'd love to hear him explain his support for the Bush administration agenda that exploded the debt and left the Obama administration with the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
 
RHETORIC: Gregg Called The CBO A "Game Of Bait And Switch" And Said "The Country Is Headed Toward Insolvency If We Continue To Spend Money That We Do Not Have." Sen. Judd Gregg, on the bill being deficit neutral over 10 years, said "That is actually the CBO numbers. There is a game of bait and switch going on. ... This country is headed toward insolvency if we continue to spend money that we do not have. We are about to raise the debt ceiling here. We are about to go past 80% of GDP. That is basically a situation that is not sustainable. So what happens is, our children will be given a country where they have a lesser quality of life because they will either have to inflate the money supply or massively have to raise taxes, both of which reduces productivity, job growth, and quality of life." [Fox News, 11/20/09]
 
REALITY: THE SENATE HEALTH CARE BILL WOULD SLASH THE DEFICIT BY OVER $750 BILLION IN THE NEXT 20 YEARS AND BEND THE COST CURVE OVER THE LONG RUN
 
Roll Call: 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]
 
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: GREGG SUPPORTED THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION AGENDA THAT EXPLODED THE DEBT, AND LEFT THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION WITH A $1.3 TRILLION BUDGET DEFICIT
 
Gregg Voted for 5 of 5 Bush Budgets Totaling $12 Trillion In Spending.Senator Judd Gregg voted five times for President Bush’s budget plan, supporting five of the five budgets under a Republican controlled Congress and presidency and totaling $12 trillion in government spending. [2001 Senate Vote #98, 5/10/01, 2003 Senate Vote #134, 4/11/03; 2004 Senate Vote #58, 3/12/04; 2005 Senate Vote #114, 4/28/05; 2006 Senate Vote #74, 3/16/06]
 
The Bush Administration Added More Than $4 Trillion To The National Debt, Almost Doubling It. "With no fanfare and little notice, the national debt has grown by more than $4 trillion during George W. Bushs presidency. Its the biggest increase under any president in U.S history. On the day President Bush took office, the national debt stood at $5.727 trillion. The latest number from the Treasury Department shows the national debt now stands at more than $9.849 trillion. Thats a 71.9 percent increase on Mr. Bushs watch." [CBS News,
9/29/08]
 
CBO: Obama Administration Inherited $1.2 Trillion Budget Deficit From Bush Administration-Largest Ever. For fiscal year 2009, which began on October 1st of 2008, the federal government will run $1.2 trillion in the red, said the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) in a “dire projection” on Jan. 7th 2009. As a percentage of gross domestic product, the 2009 budget deficit is the largest since WWII, but in dollar terms it is the largest ever. [Christian Science Monitor, 1/7/09; Washington Post, 2/26/09; Associated Press, 1/7/09] 
 
Cantor Admitted That During The Bush Administration They Blew It "In Terms Of Restoring Fiscal Sanity." When asked why he voted "yes" for 46,000 Bush-era earmarks, Cantor said he had "clearly" made mistakes and a delivered a moderate mea culpa on deficit spending during Bush times. "Did we blow it in terms of restoring fiscal sanity? Absolutely," he said, explaining, "We were in a time, I think, when the responsibility then was to make sure we could provide the money for the troops." [Politico, 3/15/09]