December 8, 2016

jgordon's blog

From a Budgetary Perspective, the Health Care Individual Mandate is Not Severable

The legal term severable normally gets little notice outside the world of constitutional law -- yet now it has become a big buzzword amongst health care analysts and federal budget wonks. The reason has to do with the numerous legal challenges to the Accountable Care Act's individual mandate to purchase health insurance. 

New Report on Health Care Reform: Small Increase in Spending, Large Increase in Uncertainty

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently updated its estimate of National Health Spending. This unusual mid-year update, delivered in an article in Health Affairs, reflects changes due to the passage of the health care reform law in March, along with a few smaller legislative changes since then.

New CBO numbers, and a "Concord Plausible Baseline" to go with them

Today we updated our "Plausible Baseline" to take into account the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)'s latest Budget and Economic Analysis.

Our press release, "Concord Coalition Says CBO Report Shows Need to Re-examine Fiscal Priorities," is here.

Round Two for Jack Lew

Last week President Obama nominated Jacob “Jack” Lew to be the new head of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), replacing Peter Orszag, who is stepping down at the end of July. OMB is primarily responsible for developing the President’s budget.

If confirmed by the Senate, as expected, Lew will become OMB director for the second time. He served as President Clinton’s director from 1998 through the end of the Clinton administration in 2001.

Congress might pass a bill to increase the deficit by over $4 trillion

Imagine if Congress held a vote in the next few months on a bill that cut nearly $3.7 trillion in income taxes, added $350 billion worth of loopholes and deductions to the tax code, and increased Medicare spending by $236 billion.

There might be quite an uproar. After all, we are experiencing the largest deficits in history with increasing awareness of our clearly unsustainable long-term outlook.

How and when to get "Back in Black"

A Washington Post editorial today sums up a bunch of different strands of thinking about the federal budget that Concord has been writing about and talking about a lot recently.

Newly Redesigned Washington Budget Report

This week, Concord debuts a redesigned version of our Washington Budget Report

Are We There Yet? (Reaction to CBO and the Upcoming Vote on Health Care Reform)

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It looks like we might be entering the final week(s) of (at least) this year's legislative push on health care reform.

Thursday brought us legislative text of the amendments to the Senate bill that the House will take up through the reconciliation process as well as an updated CBO score of the whole package. It is likely the House will vote on the bill package Sunday. If they do so, the Senate bill will become the law of the land, and the reconciliation amendments will then have to make it though the Senate before those become law.

Short-term support for the economy is not inconsistent with long-term fiscal responsibility

Perhaps the most difficult policy question Concord has been discussing with the public, the media, and members of Congress, is what to do about current large budget deficits given the lingering effect of a deep recession and projections for future debt levels due to population aging and rising health care costs. Does working on one problem preclude working on the other? The answer is no.

President's Budget Follow-Up

Following up on our press release about the President's Fiscal Year 2011 budget proposal, here are a few more thoughts:

Annual discretionary spending: