Posted by Curt on 20 December, 2009 at 1:26 pm. 14 comments already!

From the SRCC:

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D-OH): “In 2003 when the insurance companies and the drug companies and president bush pushed through the Medicare privatization bill. They were not paying for it in any way. We are paying for this bill. The congressional budget office says it will be over in the next 20 years it will be a $1.4 trillion paydown of the national debt. This is the Congressional Budget Office.” (CBS’ “Face The Nation,” 12/20/09)

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL): “They [CBO] said last night, this new amendment means that the deficit in the second ten years will come down up to $1.3 trillion.” (ABC’s “This Week,” 12/20/09)

SEN. KENT CONRAD (D-ND): “Look, no legislation is perfect but this bill is a very significant advance to address health care reform. The fact is it reduces the deficit in the first ten years by $130 billion. In the second ten years by $1.3 trillion.” (Fox News’ “Fox News Sunday,” 12/20/09)

CBO CORRECTION: “CBO Has Discovered An Error” That “Reduces The Degree To Which The Legislation Would Lower Federal Deficits”
CBO: “The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Has Discovered An Error In The Cost Estimate Released On December 19, 2009, Related To The Longer-Term Effects On Direct Spending Of The Manager’s Amendment To The Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act (PPACA), Senate Amendment 2786 in the nature of a substitute to H.R. 3590 (as printed in the Congressional Record on November 19, 2009). Correcting that error has no impact on the estimated effects of the legislation during the 2010–2019 period. However, the correction reduces the degree to which the legislation would lower federal deficits in the decade after 2019.” (CBO Director Doug Elmendorf, Letter To Sen. Harry Reid, 12/20/09, P. 1)


More from the SRCC:

…As Republicans and the rest of the public have been reading through Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s 383-page manager’s amendment that was revealed only yesterday, more and more questionable things have been uncovered. Particularly troubling are the numerous special deals and carve-outs for states that populate the new language.

Of course, most have heard of the so-called Cornhusker Kickback, where the federal government will pay for all of Nebraska’s new Medicaid recipients, while other states will struggle with the $25 billion Medicaid expansion required of them. But that’s not all that Nebraska got. According to Politico, “In addition to the Medicaid carve out, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) negotiated an exemption from the insurance tax for non-profit insurers based in his state. The language was written in a way that only Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company, as well as Blue Cross Blue Shield nonprofit plans in Nebraska and Michigan, would qualify, according to a Democratic Senate aide.”

But other states have gotten favorable treatment as well. The AP reports that Vermont will be getting $250 million in Medicaid assistance over the next 6 years. Earlier it was discovered that Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) negotiated a deal to grandfather Medicare Advantage enrollees in Florida while other states will face severe cuts in that program. As The Washington Post noted, “Reid already has established a dangerous precedent, by dangling $300 million in Medicaid funding for Louisiana to win [Sen. Mary] Landrieu’s support for bringing the bill to the Senate floor. Months earlier, Reid had carved out his own Medicaid exemption for Nevada.”

But that’s not all. As ABC News explains, “The health reform Christmas gifts for Sens. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Ben Nelson of Nebraska are well known . But somewhere out there is another good little legislator who got funding for a hospital in their state. But which senator? Which hospital? It is a health care whodunit. Somewhere out there in the United States is a “Health Care Facility” “at a public research university in the United States that contains a State’s sole public academic medical and dental school.” We know this because in the bill Democrats released Saturday morning is a $100,000,000 check for that hospital (presumably there is only one).”

As Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell pointed out at a press conference today, this is precisely why the Senate should not be rushing through a bill that senators have had less than 40 hours to read in the middle of the night. This is not the right way to overhaul 1/6th of the U.S. economy.  “If [Democrats] were proud of this bill,” Sen. McConnell said yesterday, “they would not be doing it this way, jamming it through the middle of the night on the last weekend before Christmas. And that really sums up what we have seen on full display here as they try to bob and weave and hide from the American people who have made it clear they do not support what they know about this bill.”  Indeed, the bill cuts $470 billion from Medicare, raises taxes by $518 billion, and nearly doubles the Medicare payroll tax, will increase health care costs and is likely to increase premiums

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