As I’ve noted before, the left has found its hill to die for, at least when it comes to Obamacare: they demand a government-run plan. That’s because they recognize that a government-run plan will swamp private-sector competitors, and eventually lead to a single-payer federal program.
With that in mind, it makes sense that they’ll do their best to destroy the reputation of anyone who points out what they’re up to, or who points out how expensive this will be. As a result, when the CBO released its estimate of the cost of the revised HELP Committee plan, the gang at ThinkProgress immediately attacked Republicans for allegedly responding to the plan before they had all the facts:
A couple of weeks ago, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a preliminary score of the health care legislation under consideration in the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. The bill was estimated to cost $1 trillion over 10 years, while reducing the number of uninsured by “only” one-third. As many informed bloggers noted at the time, the cost estimate was incomplete because the legislation that the CBO reviewed did not contain language about a public health insurance plan or an employer mandate.
Nevertheless, Republicans seized on the opportunity to engage in merciless political attacks, citing the incomplete CBO score as proof that health care reform is not worth doing…
In other words, the addition of the public plan dramatically reduced the overall cost of the bill and ensured coverage of almost all Americans. So what excuses will McCain, Boehner, Graham, and other Republicans offer now? Their attacks were not only found to be baseless, but their concerns about the costs and coverage have also been addressed.
What excuses will McCain, Boehner, Graham, and others offer? Probably that the plan will actually cost well over $1 trillion – as ThinkProgress noted in an update to this post!
UPDATE Read CBO’s letter here. Jonathan Cohn explains why the final cost of the bill will likely be somewhere between $1-1.3 trillion.
Cohn’s argument – which ThinkProgress apparently endorses – is that it might be accurate to say that the bill costs $600 billion and leaves more than 30 million uninsured. But Cohn notes that Senate rules prevent the HELP bill from including a Medicaid expansion that would cover about 20 million more, and raise the total cost to between $1 trillion and $1.3 trillion. That section of the bill will be added before the Senate votes. Once that is done, the Senate Democrat bill will leave maybe 15 million or so without coverage, at a total cost of more than 1 trillion.
I wonder if ThinkProgress wants to take another stab at figuring out just who jumped the gun.
Note: If you’re interested in this topic, you really need to be reading Philip Klein at the American Spectator, and/or following him on Twitter. Klein also points out that all of these estimates rely not on actual CBO data, but on data supplied by the CBO, as edited and presented by Senators Dodd and Kennedy. As long as you trust their candor and impartiality, you’ll trust this data.