June 19, 2009

IT'S A PRETTY BASIC PROBLEM FOR DEMOCRATS:

Democrats Scramble to Cut Costs From Health Plan (ROBERT PEAR, 6/19/09, NY Times)

Mr. Obama suggested earlier this week that the total cost to overhaul the health care system would be “on the order of $1 trillion over the next 10 years.” But initial estimates by the Congressional Budget Office, the official scorekeeper on the cost of legislation, have come in much higher, leaving many lawmakers with sticker shock and casting about for alternatives.

As the Senate health committee continued drafting a companion bill on Thursday, one of its Democratic members, Barbara A. Mikulski of Maryland, said, “Obviously this is not going to go as fast as we thought.”

The Finance Committee has wrestled all week with the three biggest issues in the health care legislation: how to pay for coverage of the uninsured, whether to create a new public insurance plan and whether to impose new obligations on employers.

But it is the cost of the legislation that seems to bedevil lawmakers the most. A budget office estimate of $1.6 trillion as the cost of an earlier Finance Committee draft sent members hunting for ways to pare the expense. Peppered with questions about the legislation, the committee’s chairman, Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana, has postponed a drafting session that was to have begun early next week.


Obama Initiatives Hit Speed Bumps On Capitol Hill: High Price Tag For Reform Bill Prompts Sparring And a Delay (Ceci Connolly, 6/19/09, Washington Post)
In a high-level meeting at the White House yesterday, Obama conveyed his concern over early pronouncements by the Congressional Budget Office that a bill drafted by the Senate health committee would cover just 16 million additional people at a cost of $1 trillion, said one official with knowledge of the session who was not permitted to talk to reporters and so spoke on the condition of anonymity.

"That is not his idea of good, affordable, universal coverage," said this adviser. The preliminary estimate, pounced on by Republicans, "has rattled everyone."


Most of us are insured and nearly everyone who is insured expresses satisfaction with their own coverage. We fret about those uninsured we keep hearing about and would like to help them out. Until we see the price tag and start hearing about what the Democrats' plans will do to our own coverage. Americans want to keep what they have and cover everyone else on the cheap. Mr. Obama ain't that magical.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 19, 2009 7:20 AM
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