CBO Blog

  • Every year in response to a Congressional directive, the Department of the Navy issues reports that describe its plans for ship construction over a 30-year period. In the report released in February 2006, the Navy presented its fiscal year 2007 plan, which called for expanding its fleet from 285 battle force ships in 2006 to 313 by 2020 and beyond. In May 2006, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issued a study analyzing that plan and estimating its potential costs.

  • CBO released a new Monthly Budget Review today. During the first eight months of fiscal year 2008, CBO estimates that the federal government incurred a deficit of $317 billion, $168 billion more than the shortfall recorded through May of last year. About $50 billion of that change is due to the distribution of the tax rebates enacted in the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008.

  • RAND researchers recently sent me a letter and an attachment , which they have circulated to others, commenting on CBOs analysis of a recent RAND health IT study. Our analysis is summarized here and the full analysis is here .

  • CBO has a team of runners in Saturday's National Race for the Cure. Here's the CBO team photo from today:

  • I just returned from a brief trip to the United Kingdom, where among other activities I gave a talk at the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit. I am increasingly convinced that we need to incorporate more behavioral economics into public policy (for example, see here). The Prime Minister's Strategy Unit has been doing impressive work on the topic.

  • The rising cost of health care represents the nations single most important long-term fiscal challenge. CBO issued a new brief today on whether increased transparency about prices for specific health care services and pharmaceuticals would help to temper the rapid growth in costs.

  • Today CBO issued a cost estimate foranamended version of the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2008. Thesubstitute amendment for S. 3036 (formerly S. 2191) would set an annual limit or cap on the volume of certain greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted from electricity-generating facilities and from other activities involving industrial production and transportation.

  • CBO issued a paper on health information technology last week; the blog entry on that paper is here. Unfortunately, when we released the paper, we erroneously left Laura Adams of the Rhode Island Quality Institute off the list of reviewers who were acknowledged in the paper. Laura provided extremely valuable comments, and we are very appreciative of the time and effort she put into helping us improve the quality of the paper.

  • CBO released an issue brief today on different approaches for splitting the projected growth in the costs of the major federal health care programs into "excess cost growth" and demographic effects (these two factors reflect, respectively, rising costs per beneficiary and the number and age of beneficiaries). For more information about CBO's projections of long-term health care costs, see here.

    The key points of the issue brief are:

  • I am delivering a talk on behavioral economics and health care later today at the National Academy of Social Insurance. Today's event is being held in honor of Peter Diamond's winning the Robert Ball award from NASI. Peter is not only brilliant but also a wonderful friend and colleague, and I am thrilled that he has won this award. Peter has been interested in behavioral economics, which combines insights from psychology with those from economics, for almost 40 years.