The New York Times is inviting readers to start a conversation as the Senate Finance Commitee finally ends its own — members are scheduled to vote shortly on the committee’s health overhaul bill, the product of months-long negotiations and the last major congressional panel to take up reform.
The only committee member tweeting today is Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who announces (unsurprisingly) “I will be voting against the Finance Committee health care bill today.”
The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder reports on the reaction: “Hoping to pop this trial balloon before it expands, the White House and allies have counterpunched with an alacrity unfamiliar to Democrats. They’re first attacking the industry’s motives, which isn’t surprising. The Senate Finance Committee’s health staff, on the White House’s urging, held an unprecedented background call with more than 50 reporters this afternoon to rebut the report’s substance.”
Politico’s Chris Frates has his own summary of remarks from report author PriceWaterhouseCoopers: “Hey, we weren’t paid to evaluate the effects of the entire bill, but rather a small slice of it.”
The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein looks at numbers being floated by the White House compiled by MIT economist Jon Gruber, and says, “Gruber certainly has a lot less incentive to twist the facts than the insurance industry does, and his numbers, at least, are free from any glaring deficiencies.”
And National Journal’s Marilyn Werber-Serafini queries her experts, “How much merit is there [to the report]?” Thoughtful but predictable responses follow from Michael Cannon, John Goodman, Len Nichols and Ron Pollack.
Many reports are focused on how Republican Olympia Snowe, Maine, will vote, but The New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn reports that “one Democrat also remains a question mark: Ron Wyden.” An interview follows.
Cato’s Michael Cannon looks beyond today’s vote and predicts trouble: “The problem that Democrats have faced from Day One is finally coming to a head. The Left and the health care industry both want universal health insurance coverage. The industry, because universal coverage means massive new government subsidies. The Left, because that’s their religion. But universal coverage is so expensive that Congress can’t get there without taxing Democrats.”
Elsewhere, the Galen Institute has launched a new health reform site, healthreformhub.org that rounds up conservative analyses and opinion.