links for 2009-08-03
Note to Self: Okun's Law

A Request for Help on CBO and Health Costs

To "bend the curve" of government health care costs in the right direction is to set in place policies that, whatever they do in the short term, in the long run reduce the rate of growth of health care costs.

Now comes Clive Crook, who writes:

Clive Crook - The Republican healthcare paradox: The Democratic plans, says the CBO in its tiresomely honest way, would “bend the curve” in the wrong direction. That verdict has sunk in with the public...

To "bend the curve" in the wrong direction is to accelerate the long-run rate of growth of health care costs.

Has CBO in fact made such a judgement? Or does Clive Crook simply not know what he is talking about?

UPDATE: Doug Elmendorf agrees that Clive Crook simply does not know what he is talking about:

Director’s Blog: How do we evaluate whether certain health reform proposals “bend the curve” in terms of the federal budgetary commitment to health care or the federal budget deficit?... Although we think we can provide a rough indication of the level of federal health spending or the budget deficit 20 years ahead, we are not confident that we have an analytic basis for projecting their growth rates at that point, much less for evaluating whether those growth rates will continue in future years. Therefore, we are more confident talking about whether proposals would “lower” or “raise” the curve of the federal budget deficit or budgetary commitment to health care 10 to 20 years from now than we are discussing the shape of the curve in that time period or the level or slope of the curve beyond that period...