Doug Elmendorf, director of the Congresional Budget Office, sent tremors through Washington when he gave congressional testimony on Thursday. Appearing first before the Senate Finance Committee and then the House Ways and Means Committee, Elmendorf declared that his office had not yet seen evidence that health reform legislation would substantially reduce the cost of medical care over the long run.
CBO director Doug Elmendorf’s written testimony before the Senate budget committee today should be required reading for anyone interested in understanding our long-term fiscal plight. Among its many instructive features, it challenges--tacitly but fundamentally--the Obama administration’s dominant fiscal narrative. The president and his economic team have tirelessly argued that reforming health care is the key to regaining fiscal stability. In the very long run, no doubt, this is true. But over the next decade (or even the next generation), it is not true.