History calls - health reform's final march

Update - 3/22/2010 @ 3:35pm PDT: The CBO report has been updated to include the manager's amendment to the reconciliation package that the House passed, and the new estimates are reflected now.

This morning, news came that the Congressional Budget Office has scored the combined health reform legislation - both the Senate bill and the reconciliation fix that addresses concerns of the House Democrats.  And it's fantastic news - as the Speaker's blog, The Gavel, explains that the full package will:
  • Cuts the deficit by $143 billion in the by 2019.
  • Cuts the deficit by $1.2 trillion in the next ten years.
  • Reduces Medicare growth 1.4 percentage points per year - while improving benefits and lowering costs. [fully closes "donut hole"]
  • Extends Medicare’s solvency by at least 9 years.
  • Expands health insurance coverage to 32 million Americans.
  • Helps guarantee that 95 percent of Americans will be covered.
  • Is fully paid for - costs $940 billion over a decade.
Here is the full CBO assessment (or you can visit CBO.gov).  What's amazing about this is this is an additional $25 billion in deficit reduction than the underlying Senate bill.

The House Rules Committee has just released a summary of the reconciliation package (along with the student loan reforms).  According to it, the special deals like the Nebraska kickback have also been taken out in reconciliation.  I have also posted the full text of the reconciliation bill (or you can see it in the Library of Congress).

Now that the bill has been posted online, the House seems to be on track to vote on the full package - the Senate bill and the reconciliation package by Sunday.  "Undecided" Democrats have no more excuse to hide behind, such as "I'm waiting to see the CBO score," or "I'm waiting to see the full language."

History is calling.  The final march to reform is on.  History is knocking on our door.  We will finally pass the first hurdle in establishing health care as a right, and lay the foundational reform for future reforms to build on.  The Democratic party is once again at the crossroads of history - this is why Democrats exist.  We will finally pass the largest expansion of social safety net since Medicare.

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Beyond Insurance: Health Costs - Part II: Long Term Care & Prevention