The Bright Side of the CBO Snafu
In a strange way, yesterday's chaotic and damaging miscommunication between the Congressional Budget Office and the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee is actually good news for health reform. To those of us who don't chair a relevant subcommittee and aren't in the White House's morning meeting, the crucial question is simple: What do the players want? And, maybe more to the point, how little will they settle for?
We now know that they want more than the bill the CBO looked at yesterday. Legislation that expands coverage to 16 million people at a cost of a trillion dollars isn't sufficient for anyone. As I reported earlier, HELP staffers were furious at the results. Robert Gibbs, speaking for the White House, quickly clarified that "this is not the Administration's bill." And the quick Republican attacks were arguably counterproductive: They proved to many reformers that if you're going to spend this much money improving the health-care system, you need the momentum provided by the promise of historic gains -- in this case, universal or near-universal coverage.
No one would argue that HELP's decision to release an incomplete bill to the budget analysts at CBO was wise. But the result was a lot more clarity as to the intentions of the reformers. And that clarity suggests they're not looking to settle for the third of the loaf that the CBO envisioned.
Posted by: TheIncidentalEconomist | June 16, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: JonWa | June 16, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: TheIncidentalEconomist | June 16, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Ezra Klein | June 16, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Dellis2 | June 16, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: JonWa | June 16, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.