Yesterday we looked at Ezra Klein’s list of ways Democrats could avoid a filibuster, and today abortion rights supporters might see a benefit to using a different way of bypassing the Senate tradition: Politico’s Jonathan Allen reports that “Democrats will almost certainly kill the anti-abortion Stupak amendment in the process if they go to Plan B on passing health care — using a filibuster-proof reconciliation bill — budget experts say.”
There’s been another theme emerging during this recess week besides more back-and-forth over the Stupak amendment: controlling costs and raising taxes.
Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey is unhappy with a proposal to increase the capital gains tax, saying, “The Pelosi Plan would strangle the economy.”
Wonk Room’s Igor Volsky makes a table that compares increasing the Medicare payroll tax (currently being floated in the Senate) versus the House’s surtax on high income earners.
Robert Laszewski expands on his nod toward an independent commission to look at health care costs. He thinks the fate of a bill “might just hinge more not on how ‘robust’ the public option would be but on how ‘robust’ an entitlement commission would be.”
Perhaps there’s another reason for a commission: Heritage’s Ed Haislmaier is unconvinced that Congress will make the future cuts to Medicare that it is proposing: “Enacting H.R. 3961 would mean that Congress has thrown in the towel on its previous attempt to control Medicare spending. It will also mean that no rational person can believe that Congress will actually enforce any new Medicare spending cuts included in pending health care legislation. That, in turn, would mean that new health care legislation would actually result in further, massive increases in either Federal borrowing or taxes.”
Lastly, a key architect of Massachusetts’ reform plan and an economic adviser to many Dems, MIT’s Jonathan Gruber, offers his thoughts on the amount of cost control in the bills. It’s not necessarily a ringing endorsement (via an interview with Ezra Klein):
Here’s how I think about this: Do you know Pascal’s wager? Why not believe in God? I think of health-care reform similarly. We don’t know if we’ll really bend the cost curve. But if we do this and we don’t do anything, we still go bankrupt in 100 years. We don’t lose much. But if we do it and it works, then it’s a savior.
It also moves the conversation on cost control in a way that’s impossible without this bill. It does real things on cost control, and then it does real things to make cost control more politically viable. It lays the groundwork for doing more. To kill this bill for not doing enough on cost control would be like criticizing the Yankees for not winning the Super Bowl. They won the World Series! They did what they could do!