Press Release

Primer: CBO Scoring of Preventive Health Measures – Important Considerations

In a new primer, Health Care Policy Analyst Jackson Hammond reviews how the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates the budget impact of preventive health policies, with a focus on the considerations and limitations that inform the agency’s budget scores on these matters.

Key points:

  • CBO creates budget estimates of federal legislation, known as a “score,” over a defined period of time, usually 10 years; these scores take into account the potential population affected by a policy, its cost and savings, and its direct and indirect effects on federal revenues and outlays.
  • CBO scores look only at a policy’s federal budgetary impact and do not judge its economic or societal value.
  • Changes in preventive health policy are particularly difficult to fully assess based on CBO scores alone, since scores cannot give a broader view of policy effects such as impact on life-years, avoidance of pain and disability, or quality of life for those affected.

Read the analysis