It's been a rough week for health care reform, probably the roughest since the debate began in earnest. Markup hearings at the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee got off to a bumpy start, thanks to a partial cost estimate--from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)--that made the whole reform project look like a boondoggle.
And partly because the reaction to that number was so harsh, the Senate Finance Committee announced it would probably be delaying its markup, originally scheduled for next week, in order to redraw its legislation and get the price down to $1 trillion over ten years--which, believe it or not, is not that much money given the sweep of this legislation.
But never fear: There is another chamber in Congress. And, today, the three House Committees with jursidiction will unveil their version of legislation. The fact that the three are producing language together is, itself, a pretty strong statement: In 1993 and 1994, committee infighting was a significant factor in the failure of reform. This time, everybody is on the same page.