With all the celebrating and bellyaching I am hearing on the interwebs today, I figured it might be good to post a story about what was actually in the health care reform bill. This article was published three days ago, but as far as I can tell, the bill outlined in this article is what passed last night. Even with a big tax credit that would cover the premium, I’m not sure if I like the government telling me that I have to buy insurance. However, it would appear that this will help a lot of people who are less fortunate than myself. Is it worth the trade? Your comments are welcomed.
A friend of mine wrote the original script for a Hollywood movie I prefer not to name. The script was full of wonderful stuff, but the director gave it to another writer who crapped it up. So far, a familiar story. What happened next, though, was a little unusual. The director recognized the error of his ways—not completely enough to return to the original version, but enough to get my friend to put some of his wonderful stuff back in. The movie, although no masterpiece, ended up being a huge hit.
This is more or less the pattern health care reform has followed. The House passed a bill full of wonderful stuff, the Senate crapped it up (mainly by tossing out the public option), and now the House, with a strong assist from the Obama White House, has restored some of the House’s wonderful stuff (though not, alas, the public option, whose inclusion in this round would doom the bill—not necessarily in the Senate, ironically enough, but in the House, where the Democratic leadership is still short a half-dozen or so votes). What we’re left with falls short of what health care reform could have been—it’s no masterpiece—but it’s better than it almost was, and it lays a workable and long-overdue foundation for health policy in the United States that, I predict, will eventually win support even from the Republican Party. In spite of the dark threats we’ve been hearing. (Fred Barnes: “The Health Care Wars Are Only Beginning.” Booga-booga!) Assuming the damn thing passes.
Cost. All right-thinking people said the Senate-passed bill did a better job at reducing the deficit than the House-passed bill. As is often the case, all right-thinking people were wrong. The Congressional Budget Office scored the House-passed bill as saving $138 billion over 10 years and the Senate-passed bill as saving $132 billion over 10 years, an estimate recently lowered to $118 billion. The House reconciliation bill restores the 10-year savings to $138 billion. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has added $20 billion in deficit savings to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s bill.
[Read more at Slate]