Conrad Demands Health Care Proposal Meet Stricter Budget Demands


In what is likely an effort to bolster the health care bill he helped design, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND)–chair of the Budget Committee, and member of the “gang of six”–has seen to it that health care proposals in the House and Senate be analyzed by the Congressional Budget Office over a 20 year window, instead of the usual 10.

CBO chief Doug Elmendorf worked closely with the Finance Committee during the drafting of the proposal, and seems likely to project greater long-term cost savings from it than from the others. And if that happens, his findings are sure to be used as a political weapon by both Republicans and spending-conscious Democrats.

Meanwhile, the Institute of Medicine–an organization that’s part of the National Academies–is about to release a new study which confirms the view that the CBO’s projections are stingy and that current reform proposals will likely yield hundreds of billions of dollars in savings that the CBO didn’t account for.


Brian Beutler is TPM’s senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he’s led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at