State officials say CBO may be overstating healthcare savings

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Subgroup members debated how best to voice their concerns, probably by asking CBO to explain its estimate and detail the assumptions that went into it. Several officials pushed for a direct, public challenge to CBO’s math.

“This is a way to influence people in the administration,” one participant said.

The state officials are concerned that CBO’s estimate assumes cost-sharing would become mandatory for existing Medigap plans, not just new policies. But actually making that change would require Congress to eliminate benefits that seniors already have.

More likely, lawmakers would only tinker with new policies and see smaller savings as a result.

Some state officials are uneasy not just with the CBO score, but with the broader prospect of making major changes to Medigap.

An early draft of the panel’s report takes the tone that Congress should “be careful what you do with things that have been working very well,” Ruch said.