Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Senate Finance Scrambling to Find a Way to Pay for Health Care Reform While CBO Warns That the Congress Needs to Get Serious About Cost Containment

Toldjaso.

As I have been posting, it has been my observation that the Democrats were headed for a health care bill that had a little cost containment window dressing, would take a little off the top in provider payments, and use lots of new taxes to pay for at least half of it. I also argued that would not be health care reform but just entitlement expansion.

Apparently the CBO (God bless’em) agrees with me. This from today’s Washington Post:
"President Obama's plan to expand health coverage to the uninsured is likely to dig the nation deeper into debt unless policymakers adopt politically painful controls on spending, such as sharp reductions in payments to doctors, hospitals and other providers, congressional budget analysts said yesterday.

"While popular measures such as increasing preventive care, expanding the use of electronic medical records and rewarding doctors for choosing more effective treatments have the potential to lower costs, 'little reliable evidence exists about exactly how to implement those types of changes,' Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas W. Elmendorf said in a letter to Senate budget leaders.

"Without meaningful reforms, the substantial costs of many current proposals . . . would be much more likely to worsen the long-run budget outlook than to improve it, he said."
Word is that the latest Senate Finance draft hit $1.6 trillion in projected costs while the CBO is holding firm on demanding scoreable savings.

Well, they can now raise taxes even more or they could take a look at what real health care reform might do to the score.
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