Health Care Consensus Elusive So Far
By Ben Pershing
There are only 47 days left until Congress' August recess is scheduled to begin -- less than 30 on the legislative calendar -- and the key players in the health care debate appear to be far from consensus. President Obama, top Senators and vital interest groups continued to circle each other Monday, with few signs of progress so far to suggest a substantive agreement will be reached by Obama's self-imposed deadline.
Even as Obama got a mixed reception from the American Medical Association yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office put a $1 trillion price tag on Edward Kennedy's draft health care measure. That number, and CBO's prediction that millions of Americans would still be left uninsured, may have been enough to stop the bill in its tracks, or at least until Kennedy's HELP committee can put together a new version of the measure for a new score. The New York Times says the CBO analysis "raised the hurdles" for Kennedy's plan and "came as a surprise."
But Ezra Klein writes, "The numbers ... are not credible representations of HELP's coming legislation," because they did not factor in strong employer and individual mandates that are expected to be included in the bill but were not in the draft version the committee gave to the CBO to analyze. The Wall Street Journal similarly notes "that proposal was missing key details that are likely to significantly change the final numbers."
Posted at 8:26 AM ET on Jun 16, 2009
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