CBO: Dems' Health Plans Will Raise Costs

'Maybe what he should do is run for Congress,' snaps Reid
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 16, 2009 5:38 PM CDT
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont.   (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)
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(Newser) – The health care reform bills being pushed by House Democrats and the Senate health panel would not cut costs as advertised, says the director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. In fact, Douglas Elmendorf believes they would raise costs, the Washington Post reports. “We do not see the sort of fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the trajectory of federal health spending," Elmendorf told the Senate budget panel. "On the contrary, the legislation significantly expands the federal responsibility for health care costs.”

Republicans embraced his remarks, but they drew rebukes from Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, notes the New York Times. "Maybe what he should do is run for Congress," said Reid. Elmendorf specifically backed the idea of taxing employer-provided benefits, and Max Baucus—whose Senate finance panel is still working on its bill—expressed frustration that Obama has effectively taken that off the table. "Basically the president is not helping," Baucus said. "He does not want the exclusion, and that's making it difficult."