|The New York Times released a new poll today finding that 55% of Americans believe President Obama has not clearly explained his plans for changing the health care system and 59% said they thought the health care changes under consideration in Congress were confusing. In a follow-up interview, Paul Corkery, a Democrat from Somerset, N.J, said: “The Obama administration seems to have a plan, but I’m not understanding the exact details.” Corkery shouldn’t feel that bad. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the independent nonpartisan agency responsible for reviewing legislative initiatives with budgetary implications, has no idea what is in the legislation either. During yesterday’s Senate Finance Committee mark-up, the CBO realized only after the vote, that they had made a $600 million mistake in scoring an amendment by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).
The issues that the CBO does not have enough information to analyze are not minor either. In letters released on September 22nd, CBO Director Doug Elmendorf told Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-IA) respectively that his agency simply had not been provided with sufficient legislative language and time to analyze whether insurance premiums would go up under Obamacare or how many unauthorized billions of dollars in health benefits illegal immigrants would receive.
To ensure that the Senate would actually know what they were voting on, Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) offered an amendment that would have required that actual legislative text, as well as a final Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate of the cost of the bill, be posted for 72 hours on the Senate Finance Committee website for public review before the Senate Finance Committee could vote on its final passage. The Bunning amendment was defeated on a largely party-line vote, with all Senate Democrats – with the exception of Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AK)- voting against it.
Since proponents of Obamacare have shown themselves to be completely indifferent to what their legislation will actually do to the American people, conservatives have offered other amendments that would hold President Obama accountable for his promise that Obamacare would not cause Americans to lose their current doctor or health care coverage:
The majority in the Senate has completely gutted any semblance of transparency or accountability in the health care debate. They refuse to provide the legislative language and time necessary for the CBO to analyze their legislation and they have rejected all measures that would protect the Americans people from Obama’s broken health care promises. Common sense dictates that Congress needs to step back and start over instead of passing a plan that would reorganize one-sixth of our entire economy without even understanding what the consequences to average Americans would be.
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