Less A Health Care Deal, More An Agreement On Vague Parameters For A Possible Deal

Ryan Grim at Huffington Post managed to get some details out of Ben Nelson.
He confirmed that at least four items had been sent to the CBO for an estimate known as a score: an expansion of Medicaid; broadening Sen. Maria Cantwell's (D-Wash.) Basic Health program to people within 300 percent of the federal poverty limit; the much-discussed national plans that would be run by the Office of Personnel Management; and allowing people 55-64 to buy into Medicare

What is interesting is that this runs counter to reporting yesterday that Jay Rockefeller was forced to drop his request to expand Medicaid. It is possible that Rockefeller is having the expansion scored anyway, so that he can take another stab at including if it comes back a proven cost reducer.

The CBO score on the expansion of Cantwell's basic health program should be extremely interesting to me personally. I've read every single public CBO letter/report on health care reform, and, to my knowledge, the original Cantwell basic health program was never scored. My repeated requests to Cantwell's office to find out if there is a CBO score for her provision have remained unanswered.

The most interesting part of Nelson's statement is that he makes it clear that Reid did not send a single package to be scored. What was sent to the CBO were several variations on many ideas. It is clear that no deal has been reached. It looks like they only reached an agreement on the parameters for what could be used to possibly make a deal. It is always easier to reach agreement on vague ideas. Like with all things in this health care reform effort, it will all come down to details, details, and more details.

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