Will this man cook the books for Obama on health care "reform"?
June 10 (Bloomberg) -- Doug Elmendorf, a low-profile economist who leads a little-known congressional office [the Congressional Budget Office, or CBO*], may hold more sway in the debate over President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul than many lawmakers, administration officials or lobbyists.
The 47-year-old head of the Congressional Budget Office is the official scorekeeper for the cost of health-care proposals on Capitol Hill.
Elmendorf’s agency gets the final word on the price of a government insurance plan, the savings from fighting obesity and whether a bill fulfills Obama’s pledge to expand health-care coverage and cut costs without raising the budget deficit. The fate of the entire effort may rise or fall on that judgment.
“They’re god,” said Iowa Senator Charles Grassley, the top Republican on the Finance Committee. “If they say something costs X number of dollars, we can disagree all we want but unless you got 60 votes to override them it doesn’t do any good.”
Elmendorf, who had worked at the CBO in the early 1990s, was appointed to the top job in January. While earning a doctorate at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Elmendorf’s dissertation advisers included Lawrence Summers, director of Obama’s National Economic Council. Elmendorf has worked at the Federal Reserve, the Treasury Department and the Washington-based Brookings Institution, a policy research group. ...
Sounds like a fully paid up Finance Democrat.
At CBO, more than 50 economists and public-policy analysts -- almost a quarter of the agency’s staff -- are churning out analyses as members of Congress put forward their own ideas for health-care changes.
There’s often room for debate because cost estimates are based on assumptions about how millions of businesses and individuals may respond to unprecedented changes.
“There should be no illusions about the precision with which we can make these projections,” Elmendorf said. “There is a tremendous amount of uncertainty.”
So, plenty of room for maneuver.
Somebody with a lot more clout than I have should interview Elmendorf and find out how HR 676 got scored. Or ask John Conyers??
NOTE * Hardly unknown!