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I wanted to know why we don't have federal government cost projections for single payer, so I called the Congressional Budget Office -- and reached an answering machine.
Two days later, Melissa Merson, the Communications Director with the CBO, called me back and left a polite message, explaining that the CBO takes its orders from Congress, specifically the leadership, (House Speaker and Senate Majority Leader), as well as the chairs of various committees:Finance (H-Barney Frank, D. Massachusetts; S-Max Baucus, D. Montana)
Health, Education, and Labor (S-Ted Kennedy, D. Massachusetts)
Budget (H-John Spratt, D. South Carolina; S-Kent Conrad, D. North Dakota)
Appropriations (H-David Obey, D. Wisconsin; S-Daniel Inouye, D. Hawaii)
Ways and Means (H-Charles Rangel, D. New York)
Energy and Commerce (H-Waxman, D. Los Angeles)
"We are fully aware there are members of the public who would like us to provide a cost estimate of single-payer," said Merson, "but we are inundated with requests from committees of jurisdiction. The priorities are set for us by the Congress."
Now, single-payer activists, rallying behind Progressive Democrats of America and the California Nurses Association, are demanding the congressional leadership request a CBO analysis of single-payer. Not projecting the costs is another way to marginalize the growing single-payer movement.