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Iowans Encouraged to Examine Health-Care Bill

The former director of the Congressional Budget Office says he's disappointed that congressional leaders haven't been more outspoken in their defense of the nonpartisan CBO. (Robert Jones/Pixabay)
The former director of the Congressional Budget Office says he's disappointed that congressional leaders haven't been more outspoken in their defense of the nonpartisan CBO. (Robert Jones/Pixabay)
July 17, 2017

DES MOINES, Iowa – The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office is set to release its analysis of the latest Republican health care bill Monday, but the CBO's former director says you don't have to have pundits or anyone else interpret it for you.

Doug Elmendorf, who served as CBO director from 2009 to 2015, says the analysis is not only a public document, it's a document that's readily available and understandable even though it's also detailed.

"But you don't have to be an economist or a physician or have any other particular expertise to get the gist of CBO's work by reading it directly from the website," he points out.

The White House on Friday took aim at the CBO, releasing a video that claimed the CBO used bad assumptions and bad math. Ironically, the original video misspelled "inaccurately" before being re-posted.

Elmendorf, who is now dean of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, says the CBO has felt pressure over the years from both Democrats and Republicans, but he's never before heard the kind of criticism being levied by the current administration.

He says every former CBO director has stories to tell about the political pressures he faced, adding that for more than four decades, they resisted those pressures.

"I am terribly distressed by the state of our politics,” he stresses. “I don't want to live in a country where everyone thinks alike, but I do want to live in a country where people listen with civility."

Elmendorf says he can't predict the specifics of what will be in the CBO analysis because it's such a complex process. He notes, however, that the fundamentals of the latest health care plan have not changed.

Kevin Patrick Allen, Public News Service - IA