Gregory lets McConnell mischaracterize CBO analysis of health bill's effect on uninsured

››› ››› JOCELYN FONG

David Gregory did not challenge Sen. Mitch McConnell's claim that "according to CBO," the House Democrats' health care proposal does not "dramatically ... decrease the number of uninsured." In fact, CBO stated that the committee bill "would yield a significant increase in the number of Americans with health insurance."

During the July 19 edition of NBC's Meet the Press, host David Gregory did not challenge Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-KY) mischaracterization of the Congressional Budget Office's (CBO) analysis of the effect of the House Democrats' health care reform bill on the number of people without health insurance. McConnell claimed that "according to CBO," the House Democrats' health care reform proposal does not "really dramatically ... decrease the number of uninsured." In fact, in its July 17 analysis of the House bill, the American Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, CBO stated that based on the specifications of the legislation provided by the committee staff, the bill "would yield a significant increase in the number of Americans with health insurance." Specifically, CBO concluded that by 2019, the number of "nonerlderly people without health insurance would be reduced by about 37 million, leaving about 17 million nonelderly residents uninsured."

From CBO's July 17 analysis:

The legislation would establish a mandate to have health insurance, expand eligibility for Medicaid, and establish new health insurance exchanges through which some people could purchase subsidized coverage. The options available in the insurance exchange would include private health insurance plans as well as a public plan that would be administered by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The specifications would also require payments of penalties by uninsured individuals, firms that did not provide qualified health insurance, and other firms whose employees would receive subsidized coverage through the exchanges. The plan would also provide tax credits to small employers that contribute toward the cost of health insurance for their workers.

Collectively, those provisions would yield a significant increase in the number of Americans with health insurance. By 2019, CBO and the staff of JCT [Joint Committee on Taxation] estimate, the number of nonelderly people without health insurance would be reduced by about 37 million, leaving about 17 million nonelderly residents uninsured (nearly half of whom would be unauthorized immigrants).

From the July 19 edition of NBC's Meet the Press:

GREGORY: Do you think it's a moral issue that 47 million Americans go without health insurance?

McCONNELL: Well, they don't go without health care. It's not the most efficient way to provide it. As we know, doctors and hospitals are sworn to provide health care. We all agree it is not the most efficient way to provide health care to find somebody only in the emergency room and then pass those costs on to those who are paying for insurance.

So, it is important, I think, to reduce the number of uninsured. The question is: What is the best way to do that? The proposals over in the House, according to CBO, and not only aren't paid for, they don't really dramatically increase the -- decrease the number of uninsured.

GREGORY: [Sen.] Ted Kennedy [D-MA], a driving force behind health care legislation -- Senator Kennedy obviously suffering from brain cancer. He's on the cover of Newsweek magazine. He's written an essay.

Posted In
Health Care, Health Care Reform
Network/Outlet
NBC
Person
David Gregory
Show/Publication
Meet the Press
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