Following the CBO analysis of the so-called "Kennedy bill," the White House has decided to distance itself from the legislation. To recap, this is the bill that originated from the Senate's Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee chaired by Ted Kennedy. The general road map for health care in the coming months was that HELP would release a liberal bill, then the Finance Committee would come up with a more moderate version focused on costs, and then they would merge them together and pass one bill next month, before the August recess, then wait until fall to reconcile that with whatever comes out of the House.
Today, Jake Tapper reports:
"This is not the Administration’s bill," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said in a statement following the Congressional Budget Office's analysis of Sen. Ted Kennedy's health care reform legislation, "and it's not even the final Senate Committee bill."
The CBO found that the cost of just a portion of the bill would be $1 trillion over 10 years, and that it would only reduce the number of uninsured by 16 million or 17 million, meaning it would still leave 30 million uninsured (using the most commonly cited measure for the number of uninsured, 46 million).
It's true that the Kennedy bill isn't the final Senate bill, but it clearly is one of the major versions of health care legislation, and the White House just ran away from it as if it were a new book by Jeremiah Wright titled, "Them Jews." It also was the product of months of effort by leading Senate Democrats. Is it possible that we can start to see friction develop with Congress as President Obama takes a more active role on the health care push? Remember, one of the things that hurt HillaryCare in 1993/94 was feeling by the members of Congress that everything was being dictated to them by the White House.
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