Montana Politics

Representative Rehberg Shamelessly Lies to Voters About Healthcare Cost

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Apparently, Montana Republicans have decided Friday is an excellent day to present bold-faced lies to their constituents, but I’m almost speechless at Representative Rehberg’s willingness to shamelessly lie in support of his political agenda.

Representative Rehberg claimed that the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office found that his illogical defunding of health care would save money:

Montanan’s Congressman, Denny Rehberg, today received a letter from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) verifying his amendment saves taxpayer dollars while stopping the implementation of Obamacare. Rehberg’s Amendment would prevent any funds from being used to pay the salary for anyone who would implement provisions of Obamacare for the remainder of this fiscal year.

“When you cut through the budget tricks and accounting gimmicks, it turns out that common sense wins the day,” said Rehberg, the Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education. “When you strip away all of the spin, and warnings that defunding Obamacare this year would cost money, you’re left with the truth: $1.4 billion in savings this year. Only in Washington would someone actually buy the claim that it costs money not to spend money.”

What does the CBO actually say? The exact opposite, of course:

CBO estimates that enacting the prohibition on using new fiscal year 2011 funding to carry out those laws would reduce spending by $1.6 billion during the remainder of 2011, but would increase spending by $3.1 billion in fiscal year 2012 and by smaller amounts in each of the fiscal years 2013 through 2021. Net additional costs would total $3.9 billion over the 2011-2016 period and $5.6 billion over the 2011-2021 period . In addition, CBO and JCT estimate that the prohibition would reduce federal revenues by $0.1 billion over both the 2011-2016 and 2011-2021 periods. Those estimates are based on the assumption that H.R. 1 will be enacted by April 1, 2011. (Later enactment could affect estimates for both 2011 and later years.(emphasis mine).

Jason Millman at The Hill highlights Rehberg’s deceptive math:

Rehberg, chairman of the House Appropriations health subpanel, tried to put a positive spin on the report, focusing on the first year of savings while ignoring the CBO’s projected long-term deficit impact.

In Washington, they might call it “spin.” Here in Montana, we tend to be a little more direct:Rehberg’s statement is a lie, and the local media should call him on it.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it’s a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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