@mayagoldman_ reports the Biden admin is considering expanding Medicare’s definition of medically-necessary dental coverage administratively—-this could reduce the $230b or so cost of adding the new dental benefit to Medicare via legislation.. https://t.co/MnPVaKBFB0
— Amy Lotven (@amylotven) July 19, 2021
We should expect proposals over the next several weeks that seek to expand the current policy baseline. These proposals may or may not be good policy on their own. We should expect these actions to occur because the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scores a reconciliation bill off the combination of current law and current policy.
If there is a scenario where the reconciliation bill wants to do $250 billion dollars worth of stuff in a particular policy area but the Biden Administration is able to use administrative discretion to do $50 billion worth of stuff in that policy area, CBO will build that $50 billion of administrative discretion into the budget baseline so the same amount of stuff that the reconciliation bill writers were to spend $250 billion on can now get done with a $200 billion CBO score. That extra $50 billion dollars can either be used for other stuff in other categories of the reconciliation bill or be pocketed as CBO savings to hit the topline target numbers.
We should expect some weird policy announcements as well as policy freezes over the summer as a means of creating a favorable baseline for the CBO score of the reconciliation package. So when you see stuff that looks weird and unusual, take a breath and think if there are CBO scoring implications for the summer.
I like this simply because it’ll fly under the radar. People for the most part will only look at the top-line number and generally won’t care where it came from.
The people on our side in DC know how these systems work.
I saw some tweet a few days ago saying that the total of the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the reconciliation bill are close to the big number ($6.3T?) that Biden introduced a few months ago. Team D is keeping a lot of balls in the air and doing well so far.
Progress is always incremental. Moving forward is what’s important.
Major Major Major Major
This underscores the importance of bringing smart experienced hands into government who know what the fuck they are doing. Rather than inexperienced folk who waste time doing performative things like say….composting in the Bronx, because it makes for a good twitter post.
As a former fed, I have been beyond impressed with how much the Biden Administration is getting done under the radar. The competence has been breathtaking, even in contrast to both the Clinton and Obama administrations which I lived through.
Yup. Biden will probably do more with the administrative state than any President in memory.