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The most powerful man you've never heard of

We talk a lot about how Harry Reid, Max Baucus and Olympia Snowe are deciding the details of health-care reform. But you can make a pretty strong case that none of them are as powerful as Phil Ellis, and in fact, all of them are pretty much just doing what Phil Ellis tells them to do. Your next question, I imagine, is who, exactly, is Phil Ellis? Lori Montgomery has the answer.

By Ezra Klein  |  October 19, 2009; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Next: How the CBO would estimate your grocery list


hopefully they're getting better at it than they were back in the 60's when they projected Medicare Part A to be $9 Billion in 1991 and it was actually $61 Billion. Just a tad off there.

And to that note the administration has been real good at quieting critics of this speculative expectation of costs. I could have forseen this to be a strong antagonist's point against some of the reform plans' costs and its been relatively non-existent.

Posted by: visionbrkr | October 19, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

I disagree. The CBO is to the Congress as PwC is to AHIP. That is, you give them some parameters and they help you justify what you want to do.

Sometimes CBO goes off-message, like they did with malpractice reform. That reportedly caused Reid to step in and tell the AMA to "back off"--that malpractice was too divisive to try to do right now.

Posted by: bmull | October 19, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse


well yes and the fact that Reid basically said we'll take your head (AGAIN) off the Medicare chopping block (20+% reduction in provider payments again being pushed back) if they shut their mouths on the anti-reform rhetoric that was bubbling up.

The problem with all of this is that IF each entity (pharma, hospitals, doctors, medical device manufacturers etc) is satisfied enough to shut their mouths for whatever givebacks they're getting they're doing nothing to keep costs in line. oh i can't wait for the CBO score on that final bill and then I can't wait for 10 years down the road when its proven completely erroneous.

The other difference is that CBO is respected by both sides. PWC and AHIP are not.

Posted by: visionbrkr | October 19, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

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