Subjects: Health policy
In sworn testimony yesterday before the Senate Budget Committee, Congress’ chief budget analyst lambasted the health reform proposals drafted by congressional Democrats in both chambers for failing to control government spending.
Douglas Elmendorf, who directs the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, said neither the House bill nor the one drafted by the Senate health committee propose “the sort of fundamental changes” required to alter the cost curve on federal health spending.
In fact “the curve is being raised,” he remarked to the stunned audience.
Fiscally conservative House Democrats, who had been saying this all along, said Elmendorf’s testimony would cause more of their colleagues to demand changes to the $1.2 trillion House bill, which proposes to provide health insurance to 97% percent of Americans by 2015.
And Republicans jumped on it faster than Usain Bolt on skates.
House Minority Leader John Boehner, who never misses an opportunity to throw thumbtacks in front of the Big O’s Health Reform Express, said Elmendorf’s comments prove “that one of the Democrats’ chief talking points is pure fiction.”
Boehner’s henchman in the Senate, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell added that Elmendorf’s salvo should be a “wake-up call” for Obama and his Democratic allies, and called yet again for the process to be slowed down.
Echoing those sentiments, Republican Senator Olympia Snowe said “I think it would be prudent for the president to be patient.” Snowe was one of 3 Republicans who voted for the Big O’s Economic Hail Mary back in January.
Bipartisan approval of the final legislation “can provide huge impetus for (its) success,” she told the Washington Post.