AFL-CIO, Congressional Budget Office, excise tax, health care reform, House Democrats, Louisiana Purchase, Pelosi, PhRMA deal, Richard Trumka, Robert Andrews
In today’s episode of “As The Health Care Reform Turns”:
“House Democrats are inching toward the majority they need to pass health care legislation, giving them added confidence as they work out the last details of the bill and gird for a showdown as soon as this weekend.”
“Details” like what’s in the bill and how much it costs:
“House Democratic leaders on Wednesday night said the long-awaited Congressional Budget Office score of the reconciliation bill will not come out until Thursday, forcing an acknowledgment that a Saturday healthcare vote is likely off the table…But leaders are still hoping for a score on Thursday, and are still preparing for a possible vote before the end of the weekend.
…Rep. Robert Andrews (D-N.J.)…said that the delay is the result of numerous technical issues involved, and stressed that, despite any rumors to the contrary, the delays are not the result of policy problems.”
Translation: The delays are the result of policy problems. Just a hunch—Pelosi has seen the CBO numbers and they ain’t good. Hence the need to raise the tax on benefits:
“AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka is headed into a meeting with President Obama this afternoon after the White House and Congressional leaders have begun to discuss a higher-than-expected excise tax on some health care plans, in order to maintain their claim that health care legislation will reduce the deficit, a source involved in health care talks said.”
Policy problems like President Obama’s support for the so-called “Louisiana Purchase”:
“That provision, which I think should remain in, said that if a state has been affected by a natural catastrophe, that has created a special health care emergency in that state, they should get help,” Obama told Fox News’s Bret Baier…”
And since PhRMA has agreed to spend $6 million on pro-reform advertising, it’s safe to assume that the not-so-secret deal between the White House and the drug industry will be in the elusive bill as well.
So, where does HCR stand today? Pretty much in the same place its been:
“Democratic leaders say they have not nailed down the 216 votes they need for passage, but they are pressing ahead in the belief that they can get them.”