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HCR Countdown: The Last Command

If health care reform is Waterloo, is Obama Napoleon or Wellington?

4:40 PM, Mar 18, 2010 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
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Let's set the table. You can read the reconciliation text here. The preliminary CBO analysis is here.

HCR Countdown: The Last Command



Democrats played with the numbers in order to produce the result they wanted. If the bill had increased the deficit, it would have been unable to proceed under the Byrd reconciliation rule. So they went fishing for the perfect schedule of taxes and spending, fees, restrictions, and subsidies. And they found it. The problem? "The CBO process has now been so thoroughly gamed that it's useless," says Megan McArdle.

Health care reform is going to wind up being tremendously expensive. As Philip Klein notes: "Democrats have maintained the strategy of delaying the major spending provisions until 2014 to create the appearance that the bill is cheaper over the CBO's ten year budget window, from 2010 through 2019. In this version, the bill spends $17 billion in the first four years, while the remaining $923 billion, or 98 percent, is spent in the next six years."

Klein also produces this helpful chart. See if you can spot the trend:

Obamacare Chart: Philip KleinObamacare Chart: Philip KleinMeanwhile, Democrats hope to convince wavering members that they have the momentum. First Read floats a report saying Pelosi is only five votes away from victory. Ramesh Ponnuru says that's bogus: A whip count on K Street, he says, "has fewer than 30 undecideds, with Pelosi needing two-thirds." Look at the Firedoglake whip count, and there are still more Nos than Yeses. It's going to be a long weekend.

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