Good news for Democrats and Max Baucus: The Congressional Budget Office says the Senate finance panel's health care bill won't add to the deficit. In fact, the CBO says the bill would reduce it by $81 billion over 10 years. That should make it easier for Baucus to push his measure through committee and to the full Senate, perhaps as early as Friday. A negative CBO report would have thrown a serious monkey wrench into the effort, notes Talking Points Memo.
"That loud sound you heard just a moment ago from Capitol Hill was the collective exhale of Democrats," writes Marc Ambinder of the Atlantic. The CBO estimates that Baucus' bill would cost $829 billion, an amount that would be offset by spending cuts and new taxes. It projects the bill would reduce the number of uninsured by about 29 million, leaving another 25 million uncovered. Of those, about a third are illegal immigrants.