Blitzer did not challenge Boehner's false claim that CBO scored "public option"

››› ››› TOM ALLISON

Wolf Blitzer did not challenge Rep. John Boehner's false claim that the "Congressional Budget Office came out with a score on Senator Kennedy's bill, just part of ... his bill that says that the public option would cost over a trillion dollars." In fact, the CBO's preliminary analysis of the draft bill did not assess the impact of a "public option" for health insurance.

During the June 16 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, host Wolf Blitzer did not challenge House Minority Leader John Boehner's (R-OH) false claim that the "Congressional Budget Office came out with a score on Senator [Edward M.] Kennedy's [D-MA] bill, just part of ... his bill that says that the public option would cost over a trillion dollars and would cause 23 million Americans to lose their private health-care coverage, and only 16 million of which would be covered under the government plan." In fact, the CBO's preliminary analysis of the Senate health committee's draft health-care reform bill does not assess the impact of a "public option" for health insurance, one of several provisions the committee is considering adding to the bill that CBO Director Douglas W. Elmendorf said "could ... have substantial effects on our analysis."

In a letter accompanying the CBO report, Elmendorf stated: "The draft legislation released by the HELP Committee ... indicates that certain features may be added at a later date. Because they are not reflected in the current draft, however, CBO and the JCT [Joint Committee on Taxation] staff did not take them into account." In particular, Elmendorf wrote: "The draft legislation ... indicates that the committee is considering whether to incorporate other features, including a 'public health insurance option' and requirements for 'shared responsibility' by employers. Depending on their details, such provisions could ... have substantial effects on our analysis."

From the June 16 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:

BLITZER: Let's talk about some of the domestic priorities under way right now. The president wants health-care reform, delivered a big speech on it yesterday. And in that speech, he said this.

OBAMA [video clip]: So, when you hear the naysayers claim that I'm trying to bring about government-run health care, know this: They're not telling the truth.

BLITZER: Are you among those naysayers who are suggesting he wants to bring about government-run health care?

BOEHNER: Well, I think the president is ignoring the reality. The Congressional Budget Office came out with a score on Senator Kennedy's bill, just part of the -- of his bill that says that the public option would cost over a trillion dollars and would cause 23 million Americans to lose their private health-care coverage, and only 16 million of which would be covered under the government plan.

And so, it's not just me and others; it's very clear that the so-called public option would be subsidized by the government. It would draw people out of the private sector. It would cause companies to just give up their coverage and force people into a government-run plan. That's not what we --

BLITZER: I know you don't like a --

BOEHNER: That's not what we want. What we want is, we want to work with the president to make sure that all Americans have access to high-quality, affordable health insurance.

BLITZER: I know you don't want a government-run health insurance plan. You want a private-run plan. What about this proposal, this compromise, in between? Kent Conrad, the Democratic senator, suggesting co-ops, where you band together hundreds of thousands of people and you create a co-op that's not government-run, it's privately run, but it would potentially do the same thing.

Posted In
Health Care, Health Care Reform
Network/Outlet
CNN
Person
Wolf Blitzer
Show/Publication
The Situation Room
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