Obama's Health Bill Gets an Examination

Is Obama’s new bill a game changer? Cue the opinionaters

By DANIEL MACHT
|  Tuesday, Feb 23, 2010  |  Updated 1:00 PM CDT
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Obama's Littlest Constituents

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You can officially call it Obamacare.

President Obama finally attached his name to a Democratic bill yesterday, released as an “opening bid” ahead of Thursday’s bipartisan health care summit. The 10-year, $1 trillion plan would cover 31 million now-uninsured Americans, drive down costs for everyone else, and eventually reduce the deficit, the administration said. Many GOPers immediately cried foul, calling the bill expensive and too ambitious to succeed.

Here’s what some opinionaters are opining:

  • USA Today’s editorial board argues the proposal passes the smell test: “Would it produce a health care system better than today's — one that would leave people confident that they could get high-quality care at a reasonable price? The answer is yes,” they write. The bill does not curb medical inflation enough, they write, but “would improve the lives of tens of millions of people without increasing the budget deficit.” In contrast, the “most coherent” GOP bill would only cover 3 million more people, they write.
     
  • The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board fears what's coming is a “planned medical economy, which will reduce choice and quality.” They predict a new federal board with the power to nix health insurers’ rate-increases could lead to a “cascade of bankruptcies.” “The larger political message of this new proposal is that Mr. Obama and Democrats have no intention of compromising on an incremental reform, or of listening to Republican, or any other, ideas on health care,” they write.
     
  • The New York Times’ editorial board loves the plan for a new federal insurance board and urges Obama to “stiffen the spines of any wavering Democrats” to get health care done. “If the Republicans resort to filibusters to block passage, the Democrats should use a budget reconciliation procedure that requires only a majority vote for passage in the Senate,” they write. “This may be the last best chance for decades to come to reform the nation’s broken health care system. Mr. Obama and Democratic leaders should fight to win.”
     
  • Hot Air blogger Allahpundit surveys leading conservative critics of the bill and finds a lot of reasons for concern. Obama’s insurance board is designed to chip away at the health insurance industry until it crumbles and “America will come begging for a public plan soon enough,” Allahpundit concludes. “Another reason why Thursday’s O-Care summit is useless: The new bill that’s supposed to provide a starting point for negotiations will come without any pricetag attached.” Translation: the non-partisan Congressional Budget Organization still needs time to come up with the bill’s cost estimate, so Democrats' projections don't hold water yet. 

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