The House Democrats’ Tri-Committee Bill is sparking a lot of reaction. Bloggers allied with the Dems had immediate and overwhelmingly positively reaction, while skeptics and opponents were much quieter. But first, the non-partisan view:
Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf points to an under-reported fact: “The figures released today do not represent a formal or complete cost estimate for the draft legislation. First, as noted above, these figures do not address the entire bill. Second, the analysis was based on specifications that were provided by staff of the three committees and that differ in important ways from the ‘discussion draft’ version of legislative language that was released in June.” I.E., these numbers could change — but will the commentary shift as well?
The Wall Street Journal’s Jacob Goldstein points out:
We were struck by one estimate in particular: “…total enrollment in the public plan would equal about 11 million or 12 million, counting both individually purchased policies and employer-sponsored enrollees.” That’s about 4% of the current U.S. population, and seems rather small in comparison to how much attention the debate over the public plan has drawn.
MSNBC’s First Read reports: “The measure would leave 17 million uninsured in 2020, according to CBO. Half of that number would be illegal immigrants, and much of the remainder would be people who opt to forgo coverage and pay a fine. Without the plan, the CBO says 54 million would be without insurance in 2020.”
The New York Times’ Caucus blog focused on the funding: “The tax would apply to modified adjusted gross income — total income minus certain “above the line” deductions, but before itemized deductions like those for charitable gifts or mortgage interest on a primary residence.”
Jason Rosenbaum of the advocacy group Health Care for America Now offers up his org’s support: “It’s a good bill, and we’ll be supporting it. It’s a good bill because it does what it’s supposed to do.”
Paul Krugman on his NY Times blog calls the bill “a bargain” and says, “There is now absolutely no excuse for Congress to balk at doing the right thing.”
The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein, who says the bill “looks good,” is more impressed with the Congressmen themselves: “The Process Is the Message: Three separate committees — Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means, and Education and Labor — have come together on one bill. This is an incredible achievement.”
The New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn: “My immediate, admittedly tentative reaction is strongly positive. Once fully implemented, this reform plan will accomplish most of the goals on my mental checklist.”
Wonk Room’s Igor Volsky made a table of the bill’s provisions and their estimated savings (including “sexy facts”!).
Conn Carroll on The Heritage Foundation’s Foundry blog writes about “The House’s Hidden Train Wreck:” “the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a preliminary scoring of the bill putting a $1.3 trillion price tag on the effort. Weighing in at 1,018 pages, that comes to $1.264 billion per page. But even this analysis understates the true costs of the bill. The CBO only scores bills on a ten-year time frame, and House Democrats have designed their bill to obscure the catastrophic long-term fiscal path it places our country on.”
At the National Review’s The Corner Tevi Troy calls the bill “far to left” and adds: “This is not surprising, as the House Leadership’s strategy appears to be to pass a bill that is as far to the left as possible in order to have maximum leverage when negotiating with whatever compromise comes out of the Senate.”
The American Spectator’s Philip Klein looks at the Blue Dog Democrats’ reaction.
Keith Hennessey says the bill raises taxes on middle-income Americans and asks: “Does the House want to raise taxes on eight million uninsured people?”
The New Atlantis’ James Capretta turned his attention to President Obama last night:
“It’s now a clear pattern. When the president senses his position is vulnerable to a factual criticism, he asserts emphatically that the opposite is true — without ever providing evidence to back up his claim. Here’s the latest example. According to Politico, President Obama told skeptical Blue Dog Democrats last evening that they should support the health care bill emerging in the House because it would produce savings beyond the ten-year budget window.”