CBO: Health Care Bill to Hike Premiums

“Your World With Neil Cavuto”
November 30, 2009

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Meanwhile, to something that could dampen shoppers’ mood, sticker shock when buying health insurance — the Congressional Budget Office just announcing that the Senate health care bill will jack up premiums by more than 10 percent for a lot of Americans.

Utah’s Republican Senator Bob Bennett is not surprised. He’s in D.C., where — I don’t know if I told you — I will be heading this Thursday for that big old jobs summit.

Senator, always good to have you.


CAVUTO: These are some alarming figures. How reliable are they?

BENNETT: Oh, I think they’re very reliable, and they confirm what we have suspected all along.

If you go back to the campaign, President Obama promised that every American, typical American family would see their health care premiums cut by $2,500 a year. Now the CBO says, no, this program would increase them by $5,000 a year, roughly. That’s a pretty bad swing, $7,500 in the wrong direction for Americans…

CAVUTO: When they talk about this being deficit-neutral over the next 10 years, even assuming that is accurate, it’s — it’s on our hide, right? We’re — we’re — we are making up for it, right?

BENNETT: Yes. Yes. Deficit-neutral used to mean that it’s not going to cost any more. Deficit-neutral, under this definition, means it’s going to cost you over $1 trillion, and we are going to find $1 trillion either in Medicare cuts or increased taxes, so that we end up with the same number at the bottom line.

That is not the definition of deficit-neutral that most Americans want.

CAVUTO: Is it your sense, though, that they’re going to get something, though? The 60 votes, and getting that might be dicey, but they are going to get something; they’re not going to leave here without getting something?


BENNETT: Far — far too early. Far too early.

If this bombshell from the CBO that says that you’re going to see the $2,500 cut turn into a $5,000 increase is duplicated by other bombshells later on, it is far too early to try to predict what might happen to the ultimate bill.

CAVUTO: But does it bug you, Senator, that not a lot of folks are reporting this new CBO figure and these new premium figures, that if you were to hunt and look around in the papers and the various other networks today, it’s kind of getting buried? So, I don’t know if that many even know it.

BENNETT: We have got a long debate ahead of us, and there will be plenty of opportunities for us to point it out between now and the time when we get down to the crunch votes.

CAVUTO: Do you think, in your gut, Senator, the 60 votes are there?

BENNETT: They’re not there right now. But we will wait and see what happens.

We are going to do the very best to tell the truth about the bill. And when — we are convinced that, when we do, the independents — Republicans are already pretty well dug in on one side. The far left is dug in, in favor of it.

CAVUTO: Right.

BENNETT: But independents, those swing voters, right now, they are against this by about a 2-1 margin. And we will see, as the debate goes on, whether that margin increases or not. I think it probably will…

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