Senate Democrats wary of health care deficit spending

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid got rolled yesterday on Senator Debbie Stabenow’s proposal to increase Medicare payments to doctors by $247 billion over 10 years. Thirteen Democratic senators voted nay, while Reid said that he had been assured by the American Medical Association that the measure would get 27 Republican votes. Senate majority leaders are supposed to know how to count; Reid evidently was wrong about how 40 senators would vote—some kind of record, perhaps.
 
The larger point is that 13 Democratic senators refused to support a measure that would vastly increase the federal budget deficit but that would not be counted in the Congressional Budget Office scoring the cost of the larger health insurance bill which the Democrats want to pass. They were acting, knowingly or not, in line with the recommendations of William Galston, deputy domestic adviser in the Clinton White House, who wrote earlier this week in his New Republic blog warning Democrats not to game the CBO scoring game. Galston pointed to one provision which, under CBO scoring, would be counted as reducing spending but which over the longer haul would increase it (because it counts premiums paid in over a five-year period when none of them would be paid out as a savings for the government). More Senate Democrats than I (or Reid) expected seemed alert to such considerations yesterday—a sign that Democrats may not find it as easy to put together a big health insurance bill as conventional wisdom around town believes.  

Beltway ConfidentialUS

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

San Francisco plans to reopen the Upper Great Highway, which had been closed for recreational use during the COVID pandemic. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Nearly 4,000 San Francisco residents reached for a recent survey favor closing the Upper Great Highway indefinitely (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
San Francisco plans to reopen the Upper Great Highway, which had been closed for recreational use during the COVID pandemic. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Great Highway to reopen on weekdays, sparking renewed debate

The Upper Great Highway will soon reopen to vehicles for the first… Continue reading

Second grader Genesis Ulloa leads students in an after-school community hub in a game at the Mission YMCA on Friday, May 7, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SF parents face school year with hope, trepidation and concern

‘Honestly, I don’t know how I’m going to deal with it’

Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer was among the four candidates for California governor who participated in a debate in Yorba Linda this week. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
The first debate in the Newsom recall

Only 4 of 41 people running take the stage

Most Read