Beware Incomplete CBO Health Care Analysis
NYT and AP hand obstructionists new talking points and hype preliminary CBO analysis of Sen. Ted Kennedy’s health care bill showing a “cost at least $1 trillion over 10 years but [would] only insure about 16 million” leaving 36M uninsured.
BUT it’s a preliminary estimate of an incomplete draft bill.
W. Post’s Ezra Klein: “Currently, however, the analysis doesn’t include any expansion of Medicaid, the creation of a public plan, or the implementation of an employer mandate, because the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee’s draft legislation punted on those issues. As those policies get added into the mix, these numbers might well change.”
The Treatment’s Jonathan Cohn adds: “…if you throw an employer mandate into the mix, everything changes. Now employers have to pay. And as long as the money they’d pay to insure their own workers isn’t radically different from what they’d pay to insure the through the exchange, they’re probably going to keep offering coverage. The net impact is many more people insured. Add an expansion of Medicaid and a well-defined individual mandate … and you should get some different projections. My educated guess is something like 35 to 40 million* people gaining insurance, at a net cost of between $1.1 and $1.4 trillion over ten years. Remember, that’s the preliminiary estimate CBO delivered a few weeks ago, when presented with such an outline … let the architects finish their work. Then look at the price tag.”
President doesn’t capitulate on malpractice punishments. McClatchy: “[Obama] was met with scattered boos when he told them bluntly that he wants to continue allowing patients to sue for and win unlimited amounts in malpractice cases.”
AP notes Obama offered compromise: “The president said he’s willing to explore alternatives to taking doctors to court. In the past, he supported special programs in which hospitals and doctors are encouraged to admit mistakes, correct them and offer compensation. Studies have shown the approach can work, because doctors’ refusal to acknowledge mistakes is one reason many families file suit.”
CQ notes Congress is not yet following Obama’s lead on malpractice reform: “An overhaul bill introduced last week by Sens. Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., and Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., includes no provisions on malpractice. The issue goes unmentioned in an outline of a House bill under development by three committees. And Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., isn’t expected to address it in legislation he plans to introduce this week, according to lawmakers and aides.”
Bloomberg notes malpractice awards are not what is driving up health care costs: “the annual jury awards and legal settlements involving doctors amounts to ‘a drop in the bucket’ in a country that spends $2.3 trillion annually on health care, said Amitabh Chandra, an economist at Harvard University, in a telephone interview. Chandra estimated the cost at $12 per person in the U.S., or about $3.6 billion, in a 2005 study. Insurer WellPoint Inc. said in a report last month that liability wasn’t driving up health premiums.”
GoozNews assess what the speech can’t do: “there are plenty of landmines on the road to reform. The hospitals, insurance companies, drug and biotech companies, and specialty physicians are being asked to take serious haircuts. Tying repeal of the Bush tax cut for the wealthy to health care reform is much better than taxing health benefits, but isn’t a slam dunk. At least one special interest group — the radiologists and the various imaging machine makers — has already declared war on efforts to rein in their costs. The president’s oratorical skills were impressive. But at the end of the day, it will be his team’s political skills on Capitol Hill that will matter most.”
HCAN’s Jason Rosenbaum reminds “The AMA Doesn’t Represent Doctors”: “If I and the AMA were being truthful, we could say that the AMA, which represents a small minority of doctors, mostly specialists or retired, is against President Obama’s health care plan.”
Cohn adds: “the AMA represents an ever-shrinking portion of the physician population. And, by all appearances, it represents the profession at both its most craven and conservative. Remember, this is the organization that funded pro-tobacco candidates even as its top public health priority was to reduce smoking. And, remember, this is the orgnaization that in 1995 endorsed Newt Gingrich’s plan to savage Medicare by, among other things, forcing beneficiaries to pay more for their care. What convinced the AMA to make this deal? Chiefly, it was Gingrich’s agreement to strike a provision that would have cut physician fees.”
Baucus to propose his version soon. Reuters: “Democratic Senator Max Baucus told Reuters in an interview the powerful Senate Finance Committee he chairs would propose draft legislation this week, estimating there was an ’85 to 90 percent’ chance meaningful healthcare reform would be passed in the Senate with bipartisan support.”
NYT’s David Brooks predicts WH will force hard compromises at the last minute: “This brings you to the final stage, the scrum. This is the set of all-night meetings at the end of the Congressional summer session when all the different pieces actually get put together. You want the scrum to be quick so that the bill is passed before some of the interests groups realize that they’ve been decapitated. You want the scrum to be frantic so you can tell your allies that their reservations might destroy the whole effort (this is how you are going to get the liberals to water down the public plan and the moderates to loosen their fiscal rectitude).”
Carbon Cap May Hit House Floor Next Week
RTT News: “The chairman of a House panel overseeing climate change legislation said Monday that he hopes to have a bill ready to go to the House floor next week. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., who heads the Energy and Commerce Committee, said that he hopes to reach an agreement with [House Ag Chair] Rep. Colin Peterson, D-Minn … Waxman … said his self-imposed deadline for getting a deal Peterson and other House moderates who agree with him is tomorrow.”
“Pew says Climate Change Bill Good for Indiana,’ reports Hoosier Ag Today
Investors Business Daily reports corporate lobbyists are trying to weaken the bill further. “Initially, the White House sought to auction off all of the [pollution] permits, generating a lot of revenue. Instead, 85% will be given away until 2025, when the government starts to phase them out. That’s still too soon for some businesses, though.”
Grist’s David Roberts defends the creative structure of the permit allocations: “roughly half the allowance value goes to consumers. Roughly a quarter goes to Clean Stuff like clean energy, prevention of international deforestation, adaptation, state efficiency programs, and the like. And roughly a quarter goes to Dirty Stuff like merchant coal generators, oil refineries, and trade-exposed, carbon-intensive industries like steel. Not how I’d do it, but not ‘giving away 85% of allowances to polluters.’ The bulk of the value is going toward protecting consumers and transitioning to a clean energy economy.”
Will Financial Market Reform Be De-Prioritized?
Bloomberg speculates that Wednesday’s WH rollout of market reforms may fall behind health care and global warming. “House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, whose committee will write and debate the legislation, said he plans to get the measure passed before the August recess. Frank’s timetable will compete with a climate-change measure being pushed for a vote this month by Representative Henry Waxman, chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hasn’t scheduled a vote. ‘The two major bills that we want to get through are energy and health care, but this is a major bill as well,’ said Brendan Daly, a Pelosi spokesman”
Tomorrow’s proposal will include new consumer protection agency, Politico reports this AM: “President Obama will call for a Consumer Financial Protection Agency as part of his regulatory overhaul, along with more power for the Fed, aides tell POLITICO. He will impose new regulations on securities but not ban any financial products.”
Two conservative congresspeople proposing end of TARP, and any government intervention in failing business. CNN/Money.com: “Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, whose proposal would effectively shutter TARP by year’s end, would prevent the Treasury Department from using any of the TARP money returned by banks to lend back out to other struggling firms. A much bolder approach unveiled Thursday by Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., would require the government to sell its ownership interests by July 2010. It would also prevent the government from owning a piece of any U.S. company in the future.”
Terrance Heath contributed to the making of this Breakfast.