Limpin’Along: Senate Finance Committee CBO Score Comes Back

According to what I just saw on MSNBC on my local cable channel, out here in my nearly bankrupt coastal state, the Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Max Baucus (D, Sort of, Montana) their version of the health insurance reform bill that they have been balking and dawdling over for months, just came back from being scored by the Congressional Budget Office, and the price tag is:  (drumroll, please! )

829 billion dollars over a ten year period

The obscure Republican Talking Head they had on for this occasion immediately demanded we just throw the entire thing out, and start over again because this was an “830 billion dollar TAX INCREASE and the American people don’t want this plan.”

I thought, man, even I could do a better job of making the thing unpalatable as possible, why doesn’t he just say that Cal yee forn nee yah Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger endorsed the concept of health insurance reform yesterday in order to butter up Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine, another coastal state, with another “moderate” Republican, and then they could have all the True Republicans run screaming from the Capitol Building calling for an air strike.

Oh, wait, they can’t do that anymore.. Darn it.


That thing with the Republicans losing the last election has just been so…  inconvenient sometimes it is resulting in a lot of frustration for them.  No more running to the Dept of Homeland Security every time they get into a snit or an inconvenient or embarrassing political position and demanding somebody jack the threat level up to apoplectic purple.

So now, as the Senate grinds on, frantically searching for more reasons not to pass this kidney stone of a bill, and just calling for more morphine,  we go to the set of dueling health insurance reform (cough…) bills, one from the Senate FC that lacks a Public Option and is coming in under the bidding estimate limit, which is loathed by everyone except Lord Nelson of Nebraska and Carpe Donation of Delaware, (who are these people, and what did they do to the Democrats in the Senate)  and the other, from the House Tri Committee, which has the Public Option, and is obviously a socialist plot to convert people to being able to pay their medical bills if they survive their illnesses, which is merely loathed by the Teabaggers.

Note which side of the pond had the MSM story first:…

Remember, Obama had called in his joint-session speech for a bill that was $900 billion or less. So it meets that and then some, and is a huge relief for Democrats on the deficit front.

The deficit-reduction aspect of this will be grounds for a coming intra-Democratic fight. Obama has only ever promised a revenue-neutral bill. House Democrats and more liberal senators will therefore push for a bill that raises subsidies and doesn’t worry about deficit reduction. Baucus and his cohort will fight for this current version.

And then of course there’s the public option question, which is still open. If included, it will presumably require re-scoring, but that shouldn’t have a dramatic effect on CBO numbers.  

I want a CBO score on putting 40,000 more troops into Afghanistan.  

Is the Pony/Pie/Hide rating system too cutsie?

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  1. …. it seems that I can actually see what the bleep it is I am trying to do, here today, a lot better.  Fancy that !  

    • Edger on October 8, 2009 at 12:24 am

    since the democrats made it into a smoke and mirrors show when they did this?

    On July 9th, in a harmless-sounding letter to Pelosi, 40 Blue Dogs expressed concern that doctors in the public option “must be fairly reimbursed at negotiated rates, and their participation must be voluntary.” Paying doctors “using Medicare’s below-market rates,” they added, “would seriously weaken the financial stability of our local hospitals.”

    The letter was an amazing end run around the political problem posed by the public option – i.e., its unassailable status as a more efficient and cheaper health care alternative. The Blue Dogs were demanding that the very thing that makes the public option work – curbing costs to taxpayers by reimbursing doctors at Medicare rates plus five percent – be scrapped. Instead, the Blue Dogs wanted compensation rates for doctors to be jacked up, on the government’s tab. The very Democrats who make a point of boasting about their unwavering commitment to fiscal conservatism were lobbying, in essence, for a big fat piece of government pork for doctors. “Cost should be the number-one concern to the Blue Dogs,” grouses Rep. Woolsey. “That’s why they’re Blue Dogs.”

    In the end, the Blue Dogs won. When the House commerce committee passed its bill, the public option no longer paid Medicare-plus-five-percent. Instead, it required the government to negotiate rates with providers, ensuring that costs would be dramatically higher. According to one Democratic aide, the concession would bump the price of the public option by $1,800 a year for the average family of four.

    In one fell swoop, the public plan went from being significantly cheaper than private insurance to costing, well, “about the same as what we have now,” as one Senate aide puts it. This was the worst of both worlds, the kind of take-the-fork-in-the-road nonsolution that has been the peculiar specialty of Democrats ever since Bill Clinton invented a new way to smoke weed. The party could now sell voters on the idea that it was offering a “public option” without technically lying, while at the same time reassuring health care providers that the public option it was passing would not imperil the industry’s market share.

    Even more revolting, when Pelosi was asked on July 31st if she worried that progressives in the House would yank their support of the bill because of the sellout to conservatives, she literally laughed out loud. “Are the progressives going to take down universal, quality, affordable health care for all Americans?” she said, chuckling heartily to reporters. “I don’t think so.”

    The laugh said everything about what the mainstream Democratic Party is all about. It finds the notion that it has to pay anything more than lip service to its professed values funny. “It’s a joke,” complains one Democratic aide. “This is all a game to these people – and they’re good at it.”

    And if not why would anyone support it just because repuplicans and teabaggers hate it too?

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