Obama Health Details

The White House released a veritable cornucopia of information Monday on the new health care plan from President Obama, which took a bit of a House health bill, some of the Senate bill and added in more from the White House.  But a lot of stuff was missing.

First and foremost, there was no cost estimate given by the White House on the record.

Reporters asked in a conference call on Monday morning and again at the White House briefing, but didn't get anywhere with simple questions like, "What is the cost of this new bill?"

The White House did offer verbal assurances that the changes were "deficit neutral," arguing that the plan would save around $100 billion over ten years.

But there was no detailed revenue summary offered with this new plan on Monday, leading to more questions about the price tag at the White House briefing.

"Well, look, again, I think it would be premature to go through that process prior to Thursday," said Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, alluding to the Health Care Summit with Republicans.

That lack of cost information was just one front where there were holes in the new White House plan, as reporters asked for more information than had been provided on the White House web site.

"Let me get Reid and Nancy-Ann to give you -- to walk you guys through some of that," Gibbs said on several occasions, referring to top aides.

There were so many people wanting to know how much this new bill would cost that the Congressional Budget Office took the odd step of posting a response on its web site.

The CBO did not know.

"We had not previously received the proposal, and we have just begun the process of reviewing it -- a process that will take some time, given the complexity of the issues involved," said the CBO statement, which added that a lot more information was needed from the White House.

"Therefore, CBO cannot provide a cost estimate for the proposal without additional detail, and, even if such detail were provided, analyzing the proposal would be a time-consuming process that could not be completed this week."

In other words, Democrats will go to the Health Care Summit with a plan that has no exact cost estimate.

One can only imagine how much the Republicans will run with that.

For reporters, maybe the biggest unknown in all of this was the lack of legislative text.  This wasn't a "bill", but more of a "plan" that was issued by the White House.

Readers of this blog know full well how the fine print of legislative text presents an entirely different level of information than just bullet points.


The White House released a veritable cornucopia of information Monday on the new health care plan from President Obama, which took a bit of a House health bill, some of the Senate bill and added in more from the White House.  But a lot of stuff was missing. First and ...

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