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Congressional Budget Office Thrashes Republican Health-Care Plan

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Republicans are learning an unpleasant lesson this morning: The only thing worse than having no health-care reform plan is releasing a bad one, getting thrashed by CBO and making the House Democrats look good in comparison.

Late last night, the Congressional Budget Office released its initial analysis of the health-care reform plan that Republican Minority Leader John Boehner offered as a substitute to the Democratic legislation. CBO begins with the baseline estimate that 17 percent of legal, non-elderly residents won't have health-care insurance in 2010. In 2019, after 10 years of the Republican plan, CBO estimates that ...17 percent of legal, non-elderly residents won't have health-care insurance. The Republican alternative will have helped 3 million people secure coverage, which is barely keeping up with population growth. Compare that to the Democratic bill, which covers 36 million more people and cuts the uninsured population to 4 percent.

But maybe, you say, the Republican bill does a really good job cutting costs. According to CBO, the GOP's alternative will shave $68 billion off the deficit in the next 10 years. The Democrats, CBO says, will slice $104 billion off the deficit.

The Democratic bill, in other words, covers 12 times as many people and saves $36 billion more than the Republican plan. And amazingly, the Democratic bill has already been through three committees and a merger process. It's already been shown to interest groups and advocacy organizations and industry stakeholders. It's already made its compromises with reality. It's already been through the legislative sausage grinder. And yet it saves more money and covers more people than the blank-slate alternative proposed by John Boehner and the House Republicans. The Democrats, constrained by reality, produced a far better plan than Boehner, who was constrained solely by his political imagination and legislative skill.

This is a major embarrassment for the Republicans. It's one thing to keep your cards close to your chest. Republicans are in the minority, after all, and their plan stands no chance of passage. It's another to lay them out on the table and show everyone that you have no hand, and aren't even totally sure how to play the game. The Democratic plan isn't perfect, but in comparison, it's looking astonishingly good.

Photo credit: AP Photo/Harry Hamburg.

By Ezra Klein  |  November 5, 2009; 8:15 AM ET
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Comments

You know what would be helpful Ezra? Actually analyzing their bill and making it clear what specific things the CBO has determined would lower costs that weren't included in the Dems bill.

Are you about Democrats vs. Republicans? Or about making the health care system better?

Absolutely no question that the Democrats are offering much better plans. But there's no need to tilt the scales further with heavily partisan posts. This ISN'T a major embarrassment for Republicans, no one expected anything different. Republicans will tout the overall low expenditures, question the CBO's methodology on cost-savings and talk about their bill costing $50 billion rather than $1 trillion. They are talking about cost being more important than covering lives. This was all known BEFORE the CBO analysis came out. Again, no one expected the analysis to be any different.

So this isn't an embarrassment for them. Calm down.

Posted by: wisewon | November 5, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

It will only be an embarrassment if the media actually covers it. By that I mean more than a single story on page 5 or 10 or 30 of the Times and Post. The media has to pick it up and keep it alive. And they won't because, as Josh Marshal has noted, the msm is wired for republicans.

Posted by: wvng | November 5, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

So, is the CBO is saying that the Republican plan will cover 8 million additional people at a per capita cost of $2,700 each, compared to the Democrat plan which covers 36 million additional people at a per capita cost of $25,000 each?

Does one proposed plan really have a per capita cost ten times that of the other?


Posted by: rmgregory | November 5, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Nobody is going to be shocked that Republicans on the whole are lacking in solutions for policy problems. This development just adds to the widespread suspicion that most, though not all, Republicans---especially the most conservative amongst them---are more interested in protecting the profits of the insurance industry than in solving the very real problems created by that industry's practices.

Until we start to view a healthy society as a public good as other industrialized nations do, we are likely to continue to experience problems with the system despite the much-needed reforms being advanced.

Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | November 5, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Isn't an important political plus for the Reps the idea their plan will reduce costs to those with current health care coverage? That can appeal to a much broader segment of the electorate than can the idea young healthy people should join the health insurance pools to pay for health care for old geezers like me. (Not saying it's not a bad plan, just that it might be good politics.)

Posted by: bharshaw | November 5, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

The only way it's an embarrassment for Republicans is if they act embarrassed. They couldn't care less about what the CBO thinks.

It's a straw man that inoculates them against claims that they don't have a plan. Never mind that it's a dumb plan. It's a plan. It'll satisfy their PR needs.

Democrats would do well to stop putting this sort of tripe on the scales of merit. Why do people insist on treating something that everyone knows is a cynical ploy as a real policy alternative?

If the Bush era mistook politics for policy, the Obama era seems to think that policy is politics. Both are critical strategic mistakes.

Being rational, judicious and well-meaning is good, but it doesn't get votes or galvanize coalitions. When Democrats stop thinking it will, they'll start shutting these fools down.

Posted by: itstrue | November 5, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Ezra, is this because the GOP plan doesn't make imaginary cuts in Medicare that even the CBO admits will never happen?

Posted by: jfcarro | November 5, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

"This ISN'T a major embarrassment for Republicans, no one expected anything different."

Which ought to be a major embarrassment for Republicans. This is a sick joke and deserves coverage.

Posted by: adamiani | November 5, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

The republicans also didn't use gimmicks like the Democrats did by excluding $250 Billion in costs by putting it in a separate bill, and starting to enact the revenue generating mechanisms three years before any funds are spent. But then Mr. Klein was never very good at handling facts.

Posted by: octopi213 | November 5, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

I see the concern trolls are out early this morning. Ezra, don't you know that everything is always good for Republicans and bad for Democrats.

Posted by: durangodave | November 5, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

"According to CBO, the GOP's alternative will shave $68 billion off the deficit in the next 10 years. The Democrats, CBO says, will slice $104 billion off the deficit." Huh? Pardon, but that's silly. What you said is true, but you're comparing apples and oranges. The Democratic plan only slices 104 billion off the deficit by adding cost cuts (that won't really happen) and various taxes and stuff (that we're going to need eventually to actually pay for the deficit). That's a major part of conservative opposition to such bills - we can't afford it. A fair comparison would be to compare the costs. The Democratic plan(s) would cost around a trillion dollars.

Ezra, Megan McArdle
http://meganmcardle.theatlantic.com/archives/2009/10/random_thoughts_on_health_care.php
has assured us that you understand these things. Please don't disappoint her.

If you wanted to separate the costs and the fundraising to pay for them, you could write a compromise bill. Use Boehner's structure for health care, and Pelosi's structure for fund-raising. I would support such a bill! It would pay off close to a trillion dollars of the deficit. Of course, it taxes the middle class, so Obama would have to veto it...

As to the number of uninsured covered, I don't think that that is the way Republicans tend to approach the issue. They are more interested in shaving off some of the really rough edges in the health care system. Not all uninsured are in equally rough situations. If the CBO is correct, more edges need to be shaved. But, as you've pointed out, this bill is just for demonstration. Don't suppose anyone will bother.

Posted by: MikeR4 | November 5, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

It's a joke. It's just like the budget without any numbers in it they released earlier this year.

They should just come clean and state they are going to solve the cost problem by rationing health care based on wealth. At least it would be an honest statement.

Posted by: luko | November 5, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Dem Plan
--------
36 million covered
$104B deficit reduction
$2900 saving per new coverage

GOP Plan
--------
3 million covered
$68B deficit reduction
$22600 saving per new coverage

So there are number of ways one can spin this:

- Other one is at what incremental cost additional coverage is provided.

- Who is skipping on $250 Medicare fee add on bill? (Ezra has not talked about this for so long, Dems are so shamless there.)

- What is the funding mechanism? (Why is House on bad funding mechanism, the rate of growth of which is smaller than medical cost inflation rate? Why Ezra now going for compromise where he wants to retain this funding in part and then part of Senate ways when he knows House way is wrong? Why is it not accepted that we will need to tax rich for general deficit reduction and we can not use it here?)

- How much Legislative and Think Tank efforts have gone in Dem plan versus GOP plan? (Naturally, quality of every plan is proportional to time and efforts spent. How much for example Ezra and his commentators have spent on Dem plan.)

I am not saying GOP plan is good and it is anything more than a cynical ploy. But for Ezra to come swinging his gun here, that is really pointless.

He needs to criticize GOP's standard fallacies in this regard and how they continue to get blinkered by ideology. CBO report - does he remember how first House Dem plan was slammed by CBO? CBO has trashed Dem plans in early days too.

I think Ezra, Matt, Krugman and lot of Progressive folks are becoming 'tone deaf'. There are becoming as ideologues as like NeoCons who went into all sorts of intellectual contortions to justify Iraq war; in their case justifying blatantly wrong domestic policies and deep down 'down right' wrong priorities (yes, time has come to hammer on that; every day this delayed HRC blocks this Administration and Congress from adopting something more direct and useful).

I clearly see seeds of destruction of Obama Progressive Movement due to over reach unless these guys change.

And even further classic sign will be how these people (Ezra and gang) would thrash any critique like this further... That is how down fall happens.

Posted by: umesh409 | November 5, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

I gotta give Republicans credit where it is due. This is the first time they've proposed something other than tax cuts to solve a problem.

Posted by: BradGabel2002 | November 5, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

"So, is the CBO is saying that the Republican plan will cover 8 million additional people at a per capita cost of $2,700 each, compared to the Democrat plan which covers 36 million additional people at a per capita cost of $25,000 each?

Does one proposed plan really have a per capita cost ten times that of the other?"

Answer: It is actually only 3 million additional and not 8. This would then increase the cost per unit to $20,000. It is true the dems would be $27,000 per unit but the dem plan would save more in the long term as the more people covered the less we need to pay for uninsured emergency room treatment.

Posted by: handonhipdave | November 5, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

The per capita cost of additional coverage is pretty meaningless. Of course it's easier to provide coverage to those who already can almost afford it than those who are far further away from affording it. Close-to-universal coverage will get more expensive per capita as you cover more people.

Also, who is to say that the recent attempt to rescind $250 billion (over 10 years) in Medicare payments is a "gimmick" regarding health care reform? It has nothing to do with the proposed reforms; fiddling with outdated scheduled payment cuts has been going on for years under both parties. And I don't see that Republicans are dealing with it either (and they're the ones who are claiming that the public plan tied to Medicare would reduce doctor payments and drive people out of the profession).

The Republican plan assumes that competition will bring down costs. This flies in the face of decades of actual experience that competition can actually drive costs up in the health care field (one hospital gets a new scanner, so others have to do too to "compete" regardless of demand, and then they have to order more scans to pay for these new machines). Markets are usually great things, but that doesn't mean they get us the results we want all the time. To insist on market solutions in areas where experience shows they don't work is indicative of an ideological attachment for markets. But it's results, not the means, that should matter. And we should support whatever means best gets us those results, whether they be markets or some other method.

Posted by: dasimon | November 5, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

"Also, who is to say that the recent attempt to rescind $250 billion (over 10 years) in Medicare payments is a "gimmick" regarding health care reform? It has nothing to do with the proposed reforms; fiddling with outdated scheduled payment cuts has been going on for years under both parties. And I don't see that Republicans are dealing with it either (and they're the ones who are claiming that the public plan tied to Medicare would reduce doctor payments and drive people out of the profession)."

Of course this has to do with reforms. 10 years ago they made a schedule on how to reimburse doctor rates. Every year, they change the schedule so doc's get paid more - costing more taxpayer dollars. Now, the Dem's plan has almost the exact same "schedule." So, if the past tells us that they do not follow schedules and keep the reimbursment rates the same - why would I not conclude that "fiddling" every year would not result in higher costs to taxpayers?

Posted by: Holla26 | November 5, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

The republicans undying support for big business over the welfare of the American people will apparently never end.
After years of raping the American people we are supposed to rely on the insurance companies to suddenly discover integrity and honor? This will never happen without government intervention. Why do you think big business is spending billions in campaigning against Health Care Reform?
Public Option will make the insurance companies become competitive and accountable. And, of course the GOP does not want them to have to do this.

Posted by: kathlenec | November 5, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Klein's definition of saving money is precious, isn't it? It's the statist politician's definition, with no connection to amounts of money extracted from ordinary people's pockets.

Klein's is the moronic *insistence* that buying another nine or ten of something for an extra ten percent off really *is* saving money. It's not. And particularly not when it's all carried out from behind the threat of government force.

Also, as usual, Klein continues to conflate coverage and care. As always, it's cheesy and insulting, but seems to play well with some of his readers.

Further cheesiness is reflected in Klein's (apparent) inability to comprehend that a free market "system" of health care, by definition, will NOT involve or require more than a very few lines of new federal code, and that little bit only to abolish the ungodly distortions and perversions foisted on the country by earlier gangs of politicians. For Klein, if it doesn't come in at 1900 pages, involve onerous taxation, threats of penalties, and more paperwork, waste and incompetence dumped all over everyone, it's not a plan.

Posted by: msoja | November 5, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Continually doing one year doc fixes and pretending that we will actually allow doctors' pay to drop significantly is the real budget gimmick. The dems ending that sham outside of broader reform isn't really a gimmick, because it wouldn't increase the deficit; it would just make the CBO's deficit projections more accurate.

Posted by: filibustered | November 5, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Holla26: "10 years ago they made a schedule on how to reimburse doctor rates. Every year, they change the schedule so doc's get paid more - costing more taxpayer dollars."

Who is this "they" that make the changes every year? It's been both parties. And yes, it does have an impact on the federal budget, and there's no reason to ignore it.

But the point is that it has little to do with the health care "reforms" proposed by either party: mandates, preexisting conditions, incentives to get away from fee-for-service, insurance exchanges, effectiveness studies, etc.

The schedule adjustments would have to be addressed regardless of whether any other reform package gets passed or not. So it's not a "gimmick" to propose it as a stand-alone bill--just as it's been done year after year for over a decade by both parties.

Posted by: dasimon | November 5, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Klein: Isn't there something wrong with a plan that costs 1.2 trillion dollars, before the various budget gimmickries, e.g., the doc fix being consigned to a separate bill, that only claims to save a fraction of that amount?

May the Lord protect us from ideas so stupid that only a left-wing intellectual would believe in.

Posted by: dturnerc | November 5, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

I agree with durangodave: the concern trolls and wingnuts are out in force.

John

Posted by: toshiaki | November 5, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Not just concern trolls and wingnuts, but Randroid dunces like msoggy, who desperately wants to go back to the days of the soapbox snake-oil salesman.

Posted by: pseudonymousinnc | November 5, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

About $250B Medicare fix:

- It is Dems and Obama who started with 'comprehensive health care reform'. So then how can they push existing problems under the carpet and pretend that that is something not be considered in HCR efforts? Where is the transparency and trust?

- Fear is this is how it will happen in future too - Congress will simply skirt all the projected savings in HCR because that is politically hard to do. Exhibit A - check how even Administration proposed clauses for MediPAC commission are diluted further.

- It is imperative that Congress comes clean here if it wants people to believe their proposals.

Folks who simply want to 'hit' those who raise this issue are wrong. It is not going away and it should not go away.

Posted by: umesh409 | November 5, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

The truth hurts: http://tinyurl.com/ylepnvy

Posted by: verityversica | November 5, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

What's the point of coverage when you won't be able to even gain access to a doctor?

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703574604574499423536935290.html

You lefties have been warned.

Posted by: cmb551 | November 5, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

The Republican bill, given what they could have done as far as showing up the weaknesses in Obamacare, it atrocious. Americans do not have a two-party system in the intellectual sense.

I've suspected all along that many Republicans secretly want this bill to pass (it's far more pro-industry than Mitt Romney's plan which passed with near-unanimous Republican support). Republicans get to vote against it, then run on their opposition forever. Not a bad place to be.

Posted by: bmull | November 5, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Will the Republican plan let me control my own health care decisions?

Will the Republican plan allow me to keep the federal government out of my life?

Will the Republican plan save me some money?

Will the Republican plan force me to pay for someone else's health care while I short my own health care?

Doesn't the Republican plan cover allow access for more Americans to have health care coverage without selling our souls to the government?

This was probably one of the dumbest articles I have ever read.

The Democrats goal is to rob regular Americans of money and give it insure other Americans. It is the Democrats goal to have every American on insurance.

DUH! That is the not the goal of the Republicans plan. Of course, the Republicans are not going to force all Americans to have insurance if they do not want it.

Republicans have said their goal is to make health care more affordable, so more people can afford it.

So this article is painfully stupid.

By the way, even the Democrats are admitting that their plan will not cut the deficit at all because of the doc fix problem. They pulled $250 billion in deficit out of their own bill to make it look positive.

Only blithering idiots believe the Democrats bill will lower the deficit when even the Democrats are willing to admit that it really is a farce.

However the Republican plan actually lowers the cost of health care to Americans without stealing their lives. Bonus, it actually reduces the deficit too.

Posted by: klc3 | November 5, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

This points to something I've been frustrated about lately. It seems that we've effectively evolved three parties at this point: liberal Democrats who fight over nitpicky policy details, conservative Republicans who have "Gone Galt" into a free market fantasy world, and centrists who are frantically scrambling for any sort of stable electoral coalition.

The realities of our political moment have created a situation where the only really relevant policy-based disputes are between liberal Democrats and centrists (who are currently mostly Democrats too). This dynamic pits the various liberal health policy wonks against people more interested in vested state interests (see Kent Conrad's annoyingly parochial objection to any government plan on the basis of disparate Medicare reimbursement rates). This process produces some really poor results -- most notably, the TOTAL unwillingness to fight the unions (nobody with a real stake has any interest in doing so) means we'll be locked into a terrible employer-based system. The deals with pharma & device manufacturers almost certainly came from the same process -- "let's do this" vs. "pay my favored interest group off."

Meanwhile the Republicans, our de facto third party, are off indulging in fan service with a long list of dated conservative complaints. Crucially, THE CBO SCORE DOES NOT MATTER to them. If the CBO disagrees, it's just "bias," just like any other independent critical source. They got the big stack of paper they needed to get Fox/George Will/the rest to argue they have a "real alternative." But of course, genuinely competing proposals would have some room for compromise -- the Republican motive here is just to kill the Democratic bill. This "Greatest Hits Album" approach is a sign that they're not really interested in negotiating.

This dynamic is really quite ugly for American democracy. The Republican party has the ability to effectively block action, but it is doing everything short of a boycott to undermine the legitimacy of the process. But more importantly, the Republican caucus really does have some ok ideas that completely fail to move in a Democrat-only policymaking environment. For one thing, I bet Wyden-Bennett would be far more viable if there were actually good faith Republicans participating in the process. There certainly are market-oriented, entitlement-cutting, deficit-hawk (or even SOCIAL conservative) policies that could actually improve health reform. But conservatives have actively prevented their representatives from contributing those ideas. It's really quite bad for democracy.

Posted by: NS12345 | November 5, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Let's see, the Democrat's health bills will cost approximately $1.2Trillion to cover 36 million people, but Ezra sees that as reducing the deficit by $104Billion, since there are corresponding tax increases to cover the $1.2 Trillion, plus $104Billion more.
The Republican's bill reduces costs by $60Billion and covers an additional 3 million people. Ezra is clearly not comparing apples to apples. Obviously, the Republicans could raise taxes to easily increaste his scoring, but isn't one of the goals to decrease costs for the healthcare delivery? In addition, the Republican's bill, if enacted would reduce the costs of healthcare to many that already have it. Personally, I am already paying $1100 a month for Family care. Other than taxes and salaries, that's my largest cost as an entrepreneur.

Posted by: mark_austin_hr | November 5, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Ezra:

The real embarrassment will come the day after the November 2010 Congressional election when the Blue Dog Democrats who have been bullied into voting for the health care bill lose their seats because thier constituents are outraged. It may even cost the Democrats their majority in the House.

The Democrats bill doesn't due anything to save costs or lower the deficit because the "savings" is totally dependent upon cutting Medicare reimbursment rates to doctors. This has been tried before but Congress always fails to pass the cuts when they come up for authorization and the CBO and the Democrats know this!

Also the Republican's won't be embarrassed because the so called "mainstream media" won't provide the coverage to their alternative that it deserves. It also won't be allowed to come to a vote by the House Democratic Leadership because if it did it might actually pass- now that would be truly embarrassing!

Posted by: King2641 | November 5, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

"It also won't be allowed to come to a vote by the House Democratic Leadership because if it did it might actually pass"

Also, you're not allowed to meet Angelina Jolie because if you did, she might actually dump Brad and the kids and elope with you.

Posted by: pseudonymousinnc | November 5, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Interesting picture. Anyone elese remember the Tea Baggers whining about the "1200 page bill"?

Posted by: tpsteele | November 5, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

The Democratic bill, in other words, covers 12 times as many people and saves $36 billion more than the Republican plan. And amazingly, the Democratic bill has already been through three committees and a merger process.

It's already been shown to interest groups and advocacy organizations and industry stakeholders. It's already made its compromises with reality.

It's already been through the legislative sausage grinder. And yet it saves more money and covers more people than the blank-slate alternative proposed by John Boehner and the House Republicans.

The Democrats, constrained by reality, produced a far better plan than Boehner, who was constrained solely by his political imagination and legislative skill.

Posted by: omaarsblade | November 5, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

So, does that mean we should be equally skeptical of the Republican's plans to create twice as many jobs at half the cost?

Posted by: TedFrier | November 5, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

The realities of our political moment have created a situation where the only really relevant policy-based disputes are between liberal Democrats and centrists (who are currently mostly Democrats too). This dynamic pits the various liberal health policy wonks against people more interested in vested state interests (see Kent Conrad's annoyingly parochial objection to any government plan on the basis of disparate Medicare reimbursement rates). This process produces some really poor results -- most notably, the TOTAL unwillingness to fight the unions (nobody with a real stake has any interest in doing so) means we'll be locked into a terrible employer-based system. The deals with pharma & device manufacturers almost certainly came from the same process -- "let's do this" vs. "pay my favored interest group off."

Posted by: NS12345

=======================

You're being too kind in the motives of "centerist" a/k/a "moderate" i.e. "Conservative" Democrats.

The word you're looking towards rather than "State" is in fact "Corporate".

Conrad overplays his interest in State Issues. They frankly are quite fixable, and most any decent Liberal Policy Wonk could sit down with an amazingly cheap fix to the State Issues that people like Conrad bring up in the healthcare debate. Easy compromises if we can get to other cost fixes.

But someone like Conrad will never go Single Payer, which would kill off the majority of the cost questions in the healthcare debate. Or allowing Medicare For All that want to opt into it.

He won't go there because of State Issues?

No. Really had nothing to do with it.

It's because of lobbying by Big Health.

John

Posted by: toshiaki | November 5, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

How curious to see a headline that indicts the whole Republican proposal. I had heard another assessment of the CBO report this morning that focused on the positives of the Republican program and mentioned the negatives. You, on the other hand, focused on the negatives and briefly mentioned the positives.

That's why it's a good idea to not get all your news from one source. And for me, the issues that are the most important are in the Republican plan and the Democratic plan seems like an overloaded, expensive plan that is going to leave a lot of people uncovered in 5 years anyway.

Choose your poison, I guess.

Posted by: annetta3 | November 5, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

"The Democrats, constrained by reality, produced a far better plan than Boehner, who was constrained solely by his political imagination and legislative skill." - omaarsblade
----------------------------------
Shouldn't we be more suspicious of Speaker Pelosi's Rube-Goldberg-on-steroids monstrosity that accomplishes so little after spending $1.2 trillion dollars?

It is amazing how oblivious Mr. Klein is to the unintended consequences of these "reforms."

Posted by: dturnerc | November 5, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

I've said it before and I'll say it again, if Republicans had even a clue of how to run government, we would have never been in the mess we're in now.

So, maybe in his own way Lieberman was right: "First, do no harm" and as we see, AND the Congressional Budget Office saw, if the Republicans even try to move a pencil the first thing they do is bring harm to the country.

Give it up Republifreaks, you just can't count.

Posted by: lindalovejones | November 5, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

klc3: "Will the Republican plan let me control my own health care decisions?"

Yes, if you can afford to make your own health care decisions in the first place. If you lose your job, you're on your own.

"Will the Republican plan allow me to keep the federal government out of my life?"

Yup. You can keep paying higher and higher premiums, and lose pay raises, as the cost of care keeps going up without any interference by the federal government.

"Will the Republican plan save me some money?"

Maybe. But probably not. There doesn't seem to be much in the way of cost controls in the plan. As I brought up earlier, competition doesn't always result in lower costs. The plan may not require much in the way of government funding, but it probably won't constrain the rising premiums and so the costs out of your pocket.

"Will the Republican plan force me to pay for someone else's health care while I short my own health care?"

Nope. And no one will pay for your health care if you find yourself out of a job.

"Doesn't the Republican plan cover allow access for more Americans to have health care coverage without selling our souls to the government?"

Yes, a few more. And the Democratic plan covers a lot more people without any payment in souls. I don't see why returning to tax rates that are comparable to the Clinton years if necessary seems so abhorrent to some; I don't think we were selling our souls to the government back then.

"This was probably one of the dumbest articles I have ever read."

I could say the same about the comment. It's not just about preserving what we have. Things are changing. People have and will lose or change jobs. Fewer employers are offering health insurance as it has gotten increasingly expensive. This issue is about security as much as it is about expanding health insurance. There is a value to knowing you can change jobs, or strike out on your own venture, and not lose your coverage or access to affordable insurance. If we provide that opportunity for each other, we're all better off.

Posted by: dasimon | November 5, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

TO: cmb551 who wrote:
“…You lefties have been warned.”
______________

Eat my shorts.

Posted by: lindalovejones | November 5, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

king2641: "The real embarrassment will come the day after the November 2010 Congressional election when the Blue Dog Democrats who have been bullied into voting for the health care bill lose their seats because thier constituents are outraged. It may even cost the Democrats their majority in the House."

The blue dogs will be in far worse shape if health care doesn't pass because their constituents will take it as a sign that Democrats can't govern.

Democrats may lose seats, but passing health care legislation will save more seats than not passing it--which is one reason why Republicans are trying so hard to block it.

(And I doubt that health care will cost Democrats their House majority. An economy that's still in awful shape, maybe. But not health care reform.)

Posted by: dasimon | November 5, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

This isn't going to work. We have to much stuff going on to pass something that costs this much. Hello, 2 wars. Its time to cut back on our expenses, and integrate virtually not horizontally like these guys want too. They just want to get themselves in the record books, not help the country.
[URL="http://www.blogtoilet.com/category/random/"]Two Voices[/URL] [URL="http://www.blogtoilet.com"]Blog Crazy[/URL]

Posted by: tomtheace99 | November 5, 2009 6:44 PM | Report abuse

From what I read, the GOP plan continues the practice of pre-existing illness exclusions, and so it keeps open the possibility of rescissions (losing your insurance or job when you get sick).

Beyond that, it allows policies to have sections like, "This policy may be less expensive than others because it is not subject to all the insurance regulations and laws of the state . . ."

In other words, the GOP plan changes nothing. It allows huge insurance corporations to continue exploiting individuals and the government to make billions.

Why am I not surprised?

Ignore the GOP. Pass a strong public option plan.

Posted by: tinyjab40 | November 5, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

IS the writer retarded or lying? How does any bill that adds $36M people save $36B? He must be using the new Obama math. Maybe this bill will also create "saved jobs".

Posted by: mgrantham2 | November 5, 2009 8:35 PM | Report abuse

There's a reason why the Republican Party is in the minority. They're devoid of ideas. If anything they're beholden to the business community at the expense of taxpayers. For those who question how you can cover more people and still save more money, then you really need to read the bill to see what the details of the bills are. You're getting your "news" for Bill O'Garbage and Duffle Bag Limbaugh. These guys have never served in any public capacity and yet seem to know how to fix every problem that ails the idiotic Conservatives. You guys can follow these fools over the side of the cliff.

Posted by: ATLGuy | November 5, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Reporting from San Francisco and Washington - A Democrat won a special congressional election in a heavily Republican district in northern New York by exploiting a battle between moderates and conservatives for control of the GOP.
____________________

With 88 percent of the precincts reporting early Wednesday, lawyer and retired Air Force Capt. Bill Owens defeated businessman Doug Hoffman, the Conservative Party candidate, 49 percent to 46 percent.
_________________________

Dierdre Scozzafava, a moderate Republican, withdrew from the race Saturday under pressure from the party's right wing because of her support of abortion rights and same-sex marriage. She still picked up 5 percent of the vote.

Hoffman conceded the race Wednesday.
______________________

Hoffman started at a distant third and was viewed as a spoiler at best, cutting away at Scozzafava and opening the door for Owens. But prominent Republicans such as former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty endorsed Hoffman instead of the party-picked Scozzafava.
___________________

Owens' victory may signal renewed strength among Democrats, or at least reassure them of Republicans' perceived weakness. The seat has been strongly Republican for decades. The outcome leaves Republicans holding only two seats in the state's 29-seat congressional delegation. Republican John McHugh vacated the seat in September to become Army secretary.
____________________

Democrats scored another victory in California, as Lt. Gov. John Garamendi won a special election to a Northern California congressional seat, keeping the district in Democratic hands.

Garamendi's victory was all but certain after he won the September primary election because Democrats enjoy an 18-point registration edge over Republicans in the 10th Congressional District.
_______________

He easily defeated Republican David Harmer, a 47-year-old attorney. With 50 percent of precincts reporting, Garamendi had 55 percent of the vote compared to Harmer's 40 percent.
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Meanwhile, Republicans seized the governorships of Virginia and New Jersey, giving the GOP a psychological boost heading into next year's midterm elections.

Posted by: omaarsblade | November 5, 2009 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Like India, the GOP will create a new "Caste" of untouchables called high risk pools - nice. Hey, and if your wife has a precondition, you have the choice to separate her from the family and put her in the new caste so you can keep your cheaper no risk rates. You won't have to pay for your wife's or your neighbor's healthcare in the cost of your own.... that's soooooo nice!!

Posted by: tigman_2 | November 5, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

"Don’t get sick. And if you do get sick, just please die quickly."

That's a TRUE American patriot, Alan Grayson, accurately descibing the Republican "Health Care Plan".

Congratulations on those outstanding "family values", Republicans.

Posted by: wilder5121 | November 5, 2009 9:53 PM | Report abuse

100% of whatever the republicans ever want is for the wealthy, top 3% who own 50% of the nation's treasure.......and 50% of what democrats want.

We need about 5 strong national parties folks, these theives have had their day.

The republican proposal is written by the insurance companies.


Posted by: mot2win | November 5, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Commentator 'NS12345' is too decent - it is not just 'sad' for this Democracy; we are 'screwed royally' here.

Centrists are loosers. As like with other 2 political factions, Centrists have false leaders like Ben Nelson and Kent Conard. With these leaders, I do not believe there is any hope to get a truly balanced and fiscally sound bills.

As I said earlier - we Americans are screwed. We had the hope that Obama will not fall to 'tax and spend' disease of Democrats. But watch tomorrow (or today for East Cost guys already) when our Messiah will simply sing paeans to Nancy, corrupt Rangel and many other shameless Democrats from House.

We are robbed with these Dems.

Posted by: umesh409 | November 6, 2009 2:05 AM | Report abuse

Republican Credo: Fear,Hate,Dread,Doom & Gloom.

The So Called [Republicans]

Actually Dixie Crats

In 8 Years as President, Did Reagan get Rid of Government Run, Single Payer Health Care called...

[Medi-Care]

Ans: No

Did Republican Presidents, Richard Nixon 7 Years, Gerald Ford, 1Yr. Or George H.W.Bush 4 Years Or his son, George W.Bush Jr. 8 Years, Get Rid of Medi-Care, Medi-Caid, Indian Health Services, VA:Hospitals, CHIP: Covering Poor American Children...

Ans: No

Did they get Rid of the IRS [No]

Or the Federal Reserve [No]

Did they start the Flat Tax [No]

What do you know, Majority of the USA has been Under Control of Republcans, the Presidency, Congress and Senate and what have they Accomplished ?

Not a Thing

Bush Extended Medi-Care [Fact]

Medi-Care:A Government Run Single Payer Plan and Rural Republicans Think,

I Mean [Dixie Crats] Think Medi-Caid is something Other than Government Controlled [Jeesh]

Posted by: omaarsblade | November 6, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

It's amazing that when compared to all the industrial nations of the world, the United States ranks 1st in providing health care to only one group, those over 65. We are sadly behind in infant mortality, preventable diseases, heart surgeries, and every other aspect of health care that affects those under 65. Only our seniors, thanks to a government health plan called Medicare, enjoy better health care than the rest of the world. Shouldn't it be obvious to the GOP that we need Medicare For All to prevent the unnecessary deaths of almost 45,000 Americans every year? Shouldn't it be obvious to everyone?

Posted by: marlenerose1 | November 6, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Leading Republicans actually have filed several "comprehensive" health reform bills this year but very few people know about them because the Republicans themselves have been reluctant to talk about the bills, even at the August health care town halls. What's interesting about the Boehner bill is that it shies away from the politically challenging features in the other bills that actually made some sense -- such as funding subsidies for lower-income people by eliminating the tax exclusion for employer coverage, and establishing health insurance exchanges with strict insurance reform rules. For my analysis of those prior bills, go to:
http://www.suntimes.com/news/otherviews/1784673,CST-EDT-open23.article#

Posted by: meyermihm | November 10, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

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