The Congressional Budget Office, an independent non-partisan Federal agency, gave health-care reform an important leg-up Wednesday. Obama’s promise of not adding to the deficit was confirmed by the CBO’s analysis, while expanding coverage to millions of Americans without insurance. The cost predicted over the next ten years was set at $829 billion — $71 billion dollars less than President Obama’s pledge of $900 billion over the next decade delivered in a pivotal speech before Congress last month.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) applauded the news,
“another important step down the road toward enacting comprehensive health insurance reform.”
One of five health-care reform versions floating around Washington, the bill in question was the Senate Finance Committee incarnation, also known as the Baucus Bill.
White House budget director Peter Orszag responded,
“(the bill) demonstrates that we can expand coverage and improve quality while being fiscally responsible.”
Meanwhile, Republicans politically invested in blocking substantive reform, set about stoking unfounded fears.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said,
“The real bill will be another 1,000-page, trillion-dollar experiment that slashes a half-trillion dollars from seniors’ Medicare, raises taxes on American families by $400 billion, increases health care premiums, and vastly expands the role of the federal government in the personal health-care decisions of every American.”
Most health-care insurance apologists, like Sen. McConnell, coincidentally have been on the cash uptake from health insurance and industry lobbies — over the years adding up to millions. Accordingly, anything and all things are thrown up against the wall to see what sticks to block reform; make it sound risky, scare the seniors.
Here are supposed vociferous advocates of free market competition, exposing themselves as ideological hypocrites. Health insurance corporations now enjoy anti-trust exemptions all over the United States, many areas overwhelmingly dominated by one or two insurance megaliths. It is a broken system threatening the solvency of the American economy, and by no stretch of the imagination operates within a competitive market sphere.
In a recent bill introduced by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the profiteering is exposed,
“A few industries have used their influence to obtain a special, statutory exemption from the antitrust laws, and the insurance industry is one of them,” said Leahy. “In the markets for health insurance and medical malpractice insurance, patients and doctors are paying the price, as costs continue to increase at an alarming rate. Insurers should not object to being subject to the same antitrust laws as everyone else.”