CBO Slams Dem Move to Lower Health Costs

Nonpartisan group says Medicare panel would save little cash
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 25, 2009 6:14 PM CDT
President Barack Obama pauses as he talks to the media in the briefing room of the White House in Washington, Friday, July 24, 2009.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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(Newser) – A White House proposal to give an independent panel the power to rein in Medicare spending would save the country almost no money over 10 years, the Congressional Budget Office declared today. The nonpartisan group’s findings—that savings would total only $2 billion from the $1 trillion program—dealt a second CBO blow this month to President Obama’s efforts to reform health, Politico reports.

Peter Orszag, Obama’s budget guru, downplayed the news, saying the panel's goal was to improve health care quality and reduce long-term costs, not generate savings. But Obama may need such an offset to attract fiscally conservative “Blue Dog” Democrats and deflect GOP attacks. "CBO has made clear once again that the Democrats' bills in Congress could just make the problem worse," said GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell.