Health care budgeting for dummies

HEALTH CARE BUDGETING FOR DUMMIES…. This morning, Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade explained why he simply cannot believe the Congressional Budget Office’s favorable score on the pending health care reform package.

“When the average person who — and I think 99 percent our people are not economists that are watching right now — say if a plan costs $940 billion, tell me how I’m saving $130 billion. So it doesn’t make any sense. And by the way, while insuring 30 million more Americans.”

If only Kilmeade had contacted the CBO first, it would have saved all of those number-crunchers so much time! If a bill is going to spend money, it can’t save money, right? What were Dems thinking? “It doesn’t make any sense.”

Poor Brian. After 14 months of policy debate, you’d think even a Fox News personality would have picked up on a few of the basic details. Indeed, Kilmeade’s own show has run plenty of segments about “cutting Medicare,” “new taxes,” and other measures that would increase revenue, offseting new costs.

Of course, it’s not just Fox News personalities. House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (R-Ind.), the #3 man in the House GOP caucus, said yesterday:

“Only in Washington can you spend a trillion dollars and say you’re gonna save the taxpayers’ money.”

And as Ezra noted, “[O]nly in Washington can such willful obtuseness be considered a professional attribute. You can believe that the savings in the Democratic plan will work as CBO thinks they will work, or you can disagree with that. But let’s not pretend there’s something complicated about the theory of spending money and saving money at the same time.”

For the record, I don’t think Kilmeade and Pence are trying to deliberately mislead people — I think they really doesn’t understand the basics of the debate. Fox & Friends and the House Republican Conference cover health care policy with all the sophistication of a kindergarten finger-coloring class.