The Senate Finance Committee approved the health reform bill today by a 14-9 margin. Crafted as a compromise for reform, there is little about this bill to indicate the success of any bipartisan efforts. Sen. Olympia Snowe (Maine) was the only Republican to vote for the bill.
Some claim the approval was made possible by the recent CBO report declaring that the plan would actually lower the deficit by $81 billion in 2019. However there are several important things to note about this report:
1. This analysis is based on a projected cost of $829 billion in 10 years. Emphasis on projected.
2. Assuming this cost projection is accurate, the savings are still based on an analysis that balances 7 years of spending with 10 years of revenue. In other words – taxes will be in effect immediately but the benefits of the plan won’t actually take effect for three years after the legislation is signed. Some how I think that might correct itself in the long run…
3. The CBO also estimates that the cost will be balanced by over $230 billion in new taxes – also known as fees and penalties. Not to mention cuts – such as those to Medicare Advantage plans.
And let’s not forget the stir caused by the AHIP report – citing substantial increases in premiums under the plan.
A final bill isn’t expected on the house floor until later this month. The bill will be a merger of this Senate Finance committee bill with the more liberal Senate HELP committee bill (which includes the public option).