The Spectacle Blog

NYT Obscures CBO Report on Double Counting of Medicare Cuts

By on 12.29.09 | 9:33AM

Last week, I wrote about a Congressional Budget Office memo -- released too late to affect the outcome of the health care vote -- that said Democrats couldn't use the same money from cutting Medicare both to reduce the deficit and extend the life of the Medicare trust fund.

Today, the New York Times writes about the issue -- on A20. Yet instead of just reporting a simple truth that blows a hole in health care claims made by Democrats, including President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the Times muddies the waters as if the issue is just one big giant source of confusion without any clear answer.

The headline muses, "Expanding Health Coverage and Shoring Up Medicare: Is It Double-Counting?" And the article opens with: "At the heart of the fight over health care legislation is a paradox that befuddles lawmakers of both parties."

Really? Befuddles? I thought the CBO was pretty clear when it wrote: "To describe the full amount of (Medicare Hosptal Insurance) trust fund savings as both improving the government’s ability to pay future Medicare benefits and financing new spending outside of Medicare would essentially double-count a large share of those savings and thus overstate the improvement in the government’s fiscal position."

And the position was echoed by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which actually implements the program.

Yet to the Times, it's some giant paradox.

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