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You Mean It’s Expensive?

Ezra Klein (h/t Jonah Goldberg), activist/blogger turned Washington Post columnist, gives us a peek at liberal thinking on healthcare. If you don’t like the notion of government-run and rationed care you’ll be encouraged:

Health reform is, I think it fair to say, in danger right now. The news out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee was bad. The Congressional Budget Office had scored a partial bill and the result was a total fiasco. But the news out of the Finance Committee is much, much worse.

Put simply, the Finance Committee wanted its bill to cost $1 trillion over 10 years. The CBO returned an early estimate to the panel on Tuesday night: $1.6 trillion over 10 years. The specifics of the estimate have not been made public. But the final number changed everything. Max Baucus, the chairman of the committee, pushed markup back behind the July 4th recess. He has promised to get the bill below $1 trillion over 10 years.

[. . .]

[H]ealth reform has just gotten harder. The hope that we could expand the current system while holding costs down appears to have been just that: a hope. And CBO doesn’t score hopes. It only scores plans. The question now becomes whether we want health-care reform that achieves less of what we say the system needs, or more. Doing less would be cruel to those who have laid their hopes upon health reform. But doing more will be very, very hard.

One has to laugh: no Santa and no universal healthcare plan that “holds down costs.” Yes, to cover tens of millions of previously uninsured people requires a lot of money. Stunning, isn’t it? ( Next up: there is no money tree to repay the debt we are racking up.)

But Klein’s impatience about only spending a trillion exemplifies the dilemma in which ObamaCare proponents now find themselves. Poll after poll shows the public wants to spend less money and is concerned about the growing deficit. However, liberals like Klein are frustrated that they’re being hemmed in by a trillion dollar healthcare target.

Klein provides valuable insight into just how tied up in knots the liberals have gotten on healthcare. They seem to have bought into the notion that cost didn’t matter — or figured the mumbo-jumbo about “bending the cost-curve” was real. In the end, cost may derail the whole exercise.



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