Ask any Vietnam vet what FYGMO means (it actually should be FYIGMO). I will just say it means, “I don’t know about you, but I am home free.” My Senator, Bill, not Ben, Nelson, managed to tack on to the Senate health bill a “grandfather” clause to allow some 800,000 of his constituents, me included, to keep their Medicare Advantage plans. I love the subtle humor, “grandfather the grandfathers.”

I got my first regular paying job at age 12 when my father made me the bookkeeper for his bowling league. As such I had to keep track of wins and loses, pin counts, averages and other statistics for 12 teams and over 60 bowlers as well as calculate their handicaps. I also collected the fees and prize money, paid the bowling alley, and set the cash prizes. I did all this on a mechanical calculator, think that devilish device in the “DaVinci Code.”

I paid for my last two years of college by working as a statistician for the US Department of Agriculture doing such tasks as regression analysis and plotting curves using an electro-mechanical calculator, a machine that measured about one foot square and weighed some 25 lbs. And all it did was add, subtract, multiply and divide.

By the time I left the U. of Maryland I was very familiar with numbers and how to use them. In recognition of my abilities with numbers I was offered a job by the Federal Reserve Bank and the Bureau of the Budget (now the Office of Management and the Budget). I chose to join the Peace Corps and then go into the Foreign Service.

My numbers skills served me well as a diplomat since I was an economics officer and had to deal with lots of statistical data. In the course of my career I had the pleasure of working with the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on such exotic matters as countervailing duties, bilateral tax agreements, tariff reductions and more. I know this group and how they work the data, they always produce numbers to support the position taken by the politician requesting their services, mainly any member of Congress, but also the Administration.

I say all this as a lead up to my analysis of the new health bill nearing conclusion in the Senate. President Obama and the Democrats in the Senate are using analyses and reports from the CBO to show how costs of the the new bill will be covered by new taxes and savings. Indeed, the office even points to an eventual reduction in the federal deficit coming from the bill.

Given what I know about the numbers involved and the CBO I would urge viewing these statistical promises with a large grain of salt. All we know now is that the new bill will not change our health care system, but simply extend it to some 30 million or more Americans who do not now have insurance.

We also know that any of these new insurance clients with a family income of less than $80,000 a year will get a federal subsidy to help pay the premium on that insurance. This of course raises the question, what about those of us who already pay for our insurance and earn less than $80,000 a year? In fairness we should also get a government subsidy, but that is not envisioned by the bill.

Another problem with the CBO calculations. They calculate that savings from cutting back, or cutting out all together, the Medicare Advantage plan will pay for much of the added costs coming from the bill. But my senator has already gotten protection from such cuts for 800,000 of his constituents.

And so it goes, there is a host of unforseen costs that can come from this new bill that could seriously change the happy picture given us by the CBO. I would urge you to take a careful look at any reports of how much it will eventually cost and how we will be able to pay for it.

Remember, figures don’t lie but liers can figure. And I say this as one who knows how to make the numbers support your position.