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The Trillion Dollar Cat Is Out of the Bag

The House Democrats revealed their health-care bill — the most liberal and extreme measure one could imagine. And they immediately got the stamp of approval from the president. Well, at least we know where they stand. Politico reports:

House Democratic leaders on Tuesday unveiled a sweeping $1 trillion health care reform bill that would impose a surtax on the wealthy and create a robust government-run insurance program that would cover more than 30 million uninsured Americans.

The much anticipated rollout followed days of delays as Democratic leaders wrangled with conservative Democrats over many of the bill’s provisions. But the leadership said committee work would begin as early as Thursday in order to meet President Obama’s August deadline to pass a bill out of the chamber.

The bill includes a public option. It would hike marginal tax rates on high income earners and on small businesses that pay under the individual tax rates. It includes drug-price controls, thus making it clear the “deal” with the drug companies was no deal at all. It is over 1,000 pages long — and the Democrats in Congress and the White House intend to ram it home in less than two weeks.

But then there are all those moderate and conservative Democrats we keep hearing about. Is this what they can sign onto? Interestingly, Nancy Pelosi was meeting with them Tuesday night. (Having taken a beating over cap-and-trade, they may not be so amenable to swallow the newest bitter, ultra-liberal pill.) It is unclear how many can be strong-armed to vote for a government-take over of health care in its most extreme and expensive incarnation yet. And what about all the Senators who disclaimed interest in the public option? Sens. Kent Conrad, Joe Lieberman and the rest will need to decide whether they will sign on.

So stay tuned. The fate of the health-care debate and the political careers of numerous House and Senate members will likely be decided in the next fortnight.



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