The president begins his health care backpedal

If you watched President Obama’s press conference today, you probably noticed the fumbling and stumbling that occurred while trying to answer Jake Tapper’s question about yesterday’s health care report, which shows that costs will rise under Obamacare, not fall. If you didn’t see the answer, I’ve included it below. Here is Tapper’s question:

On health care reform, this is six months since health care passed.  You pledged, A, that you would bend the cost curve, and, B, that Democrats would be able to campaign on this.  And CMS reported yesterday that the cost curve is actually bending up:  from 6.1 percent to 6.3 percent post-health care legislation.  And the only Democrats I’ve seen talking about health care legislation are running TV ads saying that they voted against it.

The president’s response:

If after watching this you’re now sitting there scratching your head, you’re not alone. The Associated Press did a fact check of Obama’s statements and found some inconsistencies with past claims. Read the story and you’ll find some doozies.

Regarding the government’s new report, yesterday I had a chance to talk with former Congressional Budget Office director, and current president of the American Action Forum, Doug Holtz-Eakin. In his opinion, that report is good news for critics because it enhances their credibility. Smart people like Doug have been forecasting numbers like these for a while.

Doug also gave me a refresher on how CBO scoring works. CBO scores (you know, the ones Obama touted as gospel that said this bill would reduce deficits) have to be taken with a grain of salt. See, when the CBO is scoring a bill, it can’t take into account history, the people making the promises, or what common sense tells it. So if a bill (such as Obamacare) promises to make drastic, yet undeliverable, cuts in a program in two years, the CBO MUST consider that as fact and factor that into the bill’s score.

As Doug explained: “I like to think of this as CBO being in the position of pricing Congressional fantasies and precluded from pointing out reality.”

Translation: as more numbers are released, we should expect more “fact-checked” press conferences.

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