In the last few days there’s been a lot of debate over how much health care ‘reform’ will cost. Democrats have talked about the latest estimate from CBO. Liberals have cheered about the reduced cost of the revised bill. They don’t mention that Senate Democrat leaders have been pressuring CBO to be ‘more creative’ with their health care score. Nor do they point out that only Senate Democrats have seen CBO’s findings. Today Congress Daily reports that according to Democrat sources, CBO estimates the bill will cost $1.5 trilllion:
CBO has scored the House healthcare overhaul bill at $1.5 trillion over 10 years, according to sources. House Ways and Means Democrats plan to help pay for the bill by raising taxes on people earning $250,000 or more and taxing sugary beverages, sources said.
The tax on sugary drinks is expected to raise about $50 billion. A previous Ways and Means paper revealed Democrats were considering raising taxes on the wealthy through a 2 percent surtax that would raise $256 billion.
The House will not pay for the measure by taxing employer-based healthcare benefits, suggesting a merger of the House and Senate bills will be difficult. The Senate Finance Committee wants to keep its offsets within the health arena if possible and is weighing capping the value of employer-based coverage eligible for the tax exclusion.
Instead, the House will make Medicare cuts in the neighborhood of $500 billion and raise another $350 billion from an employer mandate. The specifics of the offsets are still somewhat in flux.
Raising the Medicare payroll tax is another big-ticket item that appears to be on the table…
The price tag for the House measure is well above the Senate Finance Committee’s goal of coming in at $1 trillion or less. A bipartisan group of Senate negotiators emerged from a meeting this afternoon with no major progress to report on striking a deal. “We’re not there yet,” Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus said.
Democrats talk all about transparency, but they won’t even share the information they’ve received from the Congressional Budget Office. They make claims about what CBO has concluded, but won’t let others examine CBO data.
Why should they be trusted – and where is the mainstream media?
Update: Or maybe there is no score?
One thing we do know: CBO sent Senate Democrat leaders a letter addressing the costs of their package. Why don’t they share it with the press and the public?