Today was not a good day for ObamaCare. First, the Blue Dogs are howling in protest. Politico reports:
Arkansas Rep. Mike Ross, a key negotiator on health care for moderate Blue Dog Democrats, has warned that “there’s no way they can pass the current bill on the House floor. Not even close.”
Ross doesn’t believe the bill unveiled Tuesday comes close to curtailing the ever-escalating costs of health care spending, particularly for Medicare. The conservative Arkansas Democrat also objects to the surtaxes included in the bill, saying, “I don’t like the idea of raising taxes in the worst economic crisis since World War II.”
Meanwhile in the Senate, Democrat Max Baucus attacked Obama:
Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said on Thursday that President Obama had hindered his efforts to reach a bipartisan compromise on sweeping health care legislation by opposing a tax on some employer-provided health insurance benefits.
“Basically, the president is not helping us,” Mr. Baucus told reporters outside his office. “He does not want the exclusion. That’s making it difficult.”
But that was nothing compared to the blow struck by the neutral Congressional Budget Office. The Washington Post relates:
Instead of saving the federal government from fiscal catastrophe, the health reform measures being drafted by congressional Democrats would increase rather than reduce public spending on health care, potentially worsening an already bleak budget outlook, the director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said this morning.
Under questioning by members of the Senate Budget Committee, CBO director Douglas Elmendorf said bills crafted by House leaders and the Senate health committee do not propose “the sort of fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the trajectory of federal health spending by a significant amount.”
“On the contrary,” Elmendorf said, “the legislation significantly expands the federal responsibility for health-care costs.”
Major whoops. As Yuval Levin remarks, “Not a great day for Obamacare, but a good one for CBO, and for honesty in Washington.”
But really, what did Pelosi and the Obama team expect? They have become so allergic to serious policy-making that they apparently thought the mere magnificence of Obama’s persona would cast a spell over moderate lawmakers, CBO, and the public. What, they thought no one would spot the trillion dollar gambit to take over health care? The problem with believing your own press-clippings is that it does not prepare you to deal with reality. Today, reality showed up in the health-care debate.