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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pelosi's 1,990 Page Obamacare Plan Released

It is 1,990 pages on my Adobe and it is in PDF format found at the House Rules Committee website, here.

Needless to say, since it was just released, I have not had time to go through it yet, but The Politico has some highlights:

HOUSE BILL DETAILS: Lawmakers and their aides worked late into the night on the Affordable Health Care for America Act. With nothing set in stone, here’s a look at how the bill is shaping up, according to sources familiar with the discussions. The CBO analysis will show that the bill runs surpluses in the first five years and deficits in the second, making it deficit neutral during the first decade. BUT those late decade deficits were raising questions about whether the CBO will be able to declare the second 10 years deficit neutral. A permanent doc fix will be carved out of the reform bill and introduced separately today without pay-fors. That’s not going to make docs happy because even if the doc fix bill passes the House, the Senate has already killed a similar proposal. Drug makers are also getting shellacked. They’re looking at between $125 billion and $150 billion in cuts – almost twice the $80 billion they agreed to under the White House deal. PhRMA will pay to close the donut hole completely by 2019, dual-eligible and low-income seniors will get drug rebates under Medicare and HHS will gain authority to negotiate Medicare drug prices. To underscore her enthusiasm for dinging the drug industry with the HHS provision, House Speaker Pelosi said during a leadership meeting last night, “I've been smearing poo-poo on it for months.” Pelosi also decided to kill a provision that would have allowed states to set up a single-payer system, which had been considered as a consolation prize for liberals disappointed that a robust public option won’t be part of the bill. There’s also a 2.5 percent tax on device manufacturers. The bill covers 36 million additional people and, depending on how it’s counted, comes in under $900 billion. Pelosi “couldn’t have done a better job of alienating everybody that matters. She did a great job, very equalitarian,” said a health industry lobbyist unhappy with the bill. “Whether or not they get the bill off the House floor is totally dependent on if these industries will let them. … They’ve hit everybody.” The Affordable Health Care for America Act and the doc fix bill are scheduled to hit the House Rules Committee website at 10 a.m. today. Unveiling ceremony on the West Front of the Capitol at 10:30 a.m. with CBO’s analysis following in the late morning or early afternoon.

For those going through it, leave comments on anything you find, remember the table of contents takes up the first 8 pages.

Kristol at The Weekly Standard asks a very important question to Democratic politicians, one that has obviously been thought of by them already, since news came out yesterday that Pelosi doesn't have the votes needed to pass Obamacare.

Here's the key fact: The bill will be (allegedly) deficit neutral because of hundreds of billions of dollars in Medicare cuts. If it passes, these will be the largest cuts in Medicare ever. Is the Democratic Party as a whole willing to go into the 2010 election as the party that slashed Medicare? Are individual Democratic members?

Pelosi will whisper to her members not to worry, they can rescind the cuts next year. But then, of course, the legislation will be a deficit buster. And even if the Democratic Congress does rescind the cuts, that will just allow Republicans to run ads criticizing Democrats for cutting Medicare and busting the budget. And, one might add (as Republicans will), raising taxes and hiking premiums.

One more thing: Speaker Pelosi is once again--as on cap and trade--asking her members to walk the plank, absent any evidence there are enough votes in the Senate to pass comparable legislation. In fact, the reason Pelosi is pulling the trigger now is that Reid failed in his effort to get the Senate up to the starting gate first (that was the point of last week's attempted "doc fix").

So, the question is: Will her caucus follow Nancy off a cliff?

More to come as reactions start coming out....

[Update] The spin starts.