Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Seniors and Big Pharma to Pay for a Positive CBO Score

Buried about 12 paragraphs into this New York Times article we find the answer to how Democrats propose to game their CBO score. It is not good news for over 10 million seniors covered by Medicare Advantage or the pharmaceutical industry:
House Democratic leaders said they still expected the full House to vote on health care by this weekend, even though they are still tinkering with the text of the legislation and do not have a final cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office.

Democrats are trying to hold the cost of the new insurance coverage provisions in the bill to roughly $950 billion over 10 years, in keeping with a limit suggested by the president. Also, under budget reconciliation rules, they must meet goals for reducing future deficits.

To make the numbers come out right, Democrats said, they are considering bigger cuts in payments to private Medicare Advantage plans, which cover about one-fourth of the 45 million Medicare beneficiaries. And they may ask pharmaceutical companies to pay more to help close a gap in Medicare coverage of prescription drugs.
Big surprise that the Democrats would shaft PhRMA after they played along like good soldiers during this whole ordeal. I seem to recall a warning from Minority Leader John Boehner that PhRMA should stop being sheep way back in the olden days of this debate in August. I doubt Pelosi will lose any votes over that change but the cuts to Medicare Advantage - good luck with that one. Which House Dem wants to have a tape follow him/her for the rest of time like the one that follows Dan Rostenkowski after his vote for the Catastrophic Health Care Act?

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