Newt, And An Anonymous Democrat, Erroneously Claim House Health Care Bill Will Cost $1.5 Trillion

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You don’t hear Democrats echoing Newt Gingrich all that often. But after yesterday’s House health care bill unveiling, it seems that at least one anonymous Democratic aide and the former House Speaker have found common cause.

After House leaders rolled out their legislation, Gingrich took to Twitter to criticize it:

“The liberal health bill introduced by pelosi [sic] is a disaster. $1.5 trillion in new spending. Tax increases on virtually everyone.”

There are various errors in that statement, but the biggest one is the price tag. As I reported yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office is estimating that the bill will cost about $1 trillion, and Democrats have proposed covering that cost with a surtax on Americans who make over $350,000 a year, and by wringing efficiencies out of the bloated health care system.

But though it’s unsurprising that Newt would find a way to elide the CBO’s analysis, it is surprising that a House Democratic aide would mimic him. According to the Associated Press, “a House Democratic aide said the total bill would add up to about $1.5 trillion over 10 years. The aide spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private calculations.” And that figure–about $500 billion off the mark–is what the AP ran with in its lede. “House Democratic leaders, pledging to meet the president’s goal of health care legislation before their August break, are offering a $1.5 trillion plan that for the first time would make health care a right and a responsibility for all Americans.”

House Dems are, of course, none too pleased. This is the sort of meme thing that can snowball into a wide misunderstanding of what, exactly, the House of Representatives is proposing–so we’ll be on the lookout for it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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 brian@talkingpointsmemo.com

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