CBO Numbers 'Thoroughly Gamed' and Useless The health bill is a fiscal time bomb, writes Megan McArdle By John Johnson, Newser Staff Posted Mar 18, 2010 5:21 PM CDT 60 comments Comments Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) (Newser) – Under reconciliation rules, Democrats had to improve the budget numbers in the health care bill by $1 billion. Surprise, surprise: Today's CBO analysis shows "they improved it by exactly $1 billion," writes Megan McArdle. She sees it as further proof that "the CBO process has now been so thoroughly gamed that it's useless." McArdle lays out five more criticisms at her Atlantic blog, including the fate of the excise tax. "The one provision" with any chance of spurring genuine cost reform has "basically been gutted." All in all, the health bill "is a fiscal disaster waiting to happen. But no one on the other side cares, so I'm not sure how much point there is in saying that any more."