Preliminary blog coverage of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions markup of the draft health reform bill reflects a captivating and contentious day on the Hill. The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein featured a entertaining exchange:
Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) says that he’s not sure who wrote the Affordable Health Choices Act but that if you put “Rube Goldberg, Karl Marx, and Ira Magaziner in a room,” you’d have ended up with something pretty close. A classy, gracious line from the man who was nearly Obama’s secretary of commerce.
Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) shoots back, “Our current system is a combination of Adam Smith, Darth Vader, and the Bodysnatchers. So I like our plan better!”
Ceci Connolly reports on the Post’s Daily Dose:
[It] opened with an acrimonious start this morning.
First, Dodd was forced to cool his heels for 15 minutes waiting for a quorum — eight committee members — to begin Day One of marking up a massive health-reform bill.
Once he had the eight senators around the tables, Dodd was immediately interrupted by several Republicans who questioned how they could act on a bill that is not yet completed and has not been scored by the Congressional Budget Office, the advisory panel that calculates the financial impact of proposed legislation.
David Herszenhorn of the Caucus says “it was particularly devastating” when Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, friend and “longtime partner on numerous bills” of Sen. Ted Kennedy, said HELP Committee Democrats “have already made some grave errors in their effort to write legislation overhauling the health care system.”
The New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn notices a trend: “(The Republicans are) the provisional HELP legislation a ‘Kennedy staff’ product–which, as Time’s Karen Tumulty notes (in her twitter feed), seems to be this year’s analogue to attacking the ’secret Hillary taskforce’ in 1994.”
Around the health policy blogosphere:
On the FOX Forum Peter Roff, a fellow at the Institue for Liberty, criticizes ABC News’ decision to host an upcoming edition of their evening news at the White House followed by a live broadcast of a health care town hall with President Obama. Roff says, “by turning the network over to Obama to pitch the American people on his healthcare reform plan, ABC has joined the lobbying arm of the White House and the Democratic Party.”
AHCJ’s Covering Health reports that surgeon and health care writer Atul Gawande spoke to graduates of the University of Chicago medical school about their role in lowering the cost of health care. You can read Gawande’s comments in full at the New Yorker’s site.
The libertarian Cato Institute has a new Web site dedicated to health reform, with the subhed “Reform, yes … but the right reform.”