Some worrying signs out of the Senate
Expectations were that the Senate would get the CBO score for its health-care bill today. It didn't. Or, to be more precise, it didn't get the CBO score it wanted. The proposal Reid's office sent to the CBO did not come in beneath the $900 billion limit, so the bill is being tweaked and trimmed until CBO gives Reid the answer he's looking for. There's nothing particularly strange about this process, but it means that the proposal that Reid's office thought struck a decent balance between cost and generosity will now become a bit less affordable for individuals in order to cost the government a bit less money.
Similarly, news that Reid is considering a small increase in the payroll tax paid by the rich isn't surprising, but it is, again, a deviation from plan. His office was initially quite clear that it didn't want to add in new revenue measures that hadn't been passed through the committees. The problem it's run into is that there's too much opposition to the excise tax in its current form, but weakening it means you lose revenue, which means your bill isn't deficit neutral. So it's bringing in some new tax revenue, but that comes at the cost of old revenue, and cost-cutting potential.
Photo credit: AP Photo/Harry Hamburg.
November 13, 2009; 1:35 PM ET
Categories: Health Reform
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