National Debt Will Continue To Surge, CBO Predicts, While Experts Increase Scrutiny Of Health Care CostsThe Washington Post: "In its latest long-term forecast, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicted that the national debt, which has surged to nearly 60 percent of annual economic output in the wake of the recession, would continue rising in the coming decades despite cost-containment measures in the health overhaul Obama signed this spring. 'Growth in spending on health-care programs remains the central fiscal challenge," CBO Director Douglas W. Elmendorf said in a presentation to Obama's bipartisan deficit commission. 'In CBO's judgment, the health-care legislation enacted earlier this year made a dent in the problem, but did not substantially diminish that challenge.' Although more starkly stated, CBO's position has not changed since the health-care legislation was approved." Republicans said the report was "more evidence that the health-care act will fail to significantly restrain government health costs" (Montgomery, 7/1).
The Wall Street Journal: Erskine Bowles, the Democratic co-chairman of the bipartisan White House Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, praised the recent health care overhaul but "also emphasized the need to find significant savings in federal health spending and other entitlement programs. If not, he added, 'it will just consume the budget.' The outlook for agreement among the 18-member panel, however, remains uncertain" (McKinnon, 7/1).
The Hill: Meanwhile, Elmendorf also told the panel that stimulus spending doesn't necessarily "clash with a long-term goal of cutting deficits. "He cautioned that he wasn't advising Congress on what approach to take, but said it was 'important to understand difference between the effects of government borrowing for a limited period when the economy is weak and [borrowing] for indefinite periods when the economy has recovered'" (Alarkon, 6/30). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.