Health Care Bureaucracy

One question that probably deserves a bit more exploration is whether the feds really need to set up a public health insurance option - basically a government backed insurance company -when so few people are predicted to use it.

The Congressional Budget Office reported last week that by 2019, its analysts found that only 6 million people would be in the public option.

That's not many people when you consider the bureaucratic framework that would have to go along with the public option and health reform legislation in general.

Republicans on Monday trotted out their own "List of New Federal Bureaucracies Created in Pelosi Health Care Bill", which totaled 111 in all.  Here are a few from their list:

Retiree Reserve Trust Fund, Grant program for wellness programs to small employers, Program of administrative simplification, Telehealth Advisory Committee, Demonstration program providing reimbursement for "culturally and linguistically appropriate services", Grant program to disseminate best practices on implementing health workforce investment programs and much more.

You can read their entire list at

Today, House Republicans will set up a "reading room" for GOP lawmakers in one of the House office buildings, named for the famous Republican Speaker Nicholas Longworth of Ohio.

(Your Longworth trivia is that his wife was Alice Roosevelt, the daughter of President Teddy.)

Expect Republicans to highlight a story that came out Monday evening from the Associated Press, which puts the cost of the House health reform bill above $1.2 trillion over ten years.

Democrats have repeatedly been using the number of $894 billion, which leaves some items out of the health care reform cost equation.

The Speaker and her supporters can say "$894 billion" as much as they want, but the plain facts bear out the over $1 trillion estimate, and my journalist colleagues seem more than ready to go with the higher figure.

Just one part of the health care debate.