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You know the debate has really moved in the last few months when the headline of every major paper praises the congressional budget office scoring of the latest senate health bill, suggesting an 829 billion dollar cost over a decade (See the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times)! It is not clear if the positive review of the 829 billion dollar price tag includes the $444 billion cuts to Medicare and the $221 billion excise tax on health plans and the tens of billions of dollars of fees levied on insurance companies, medicare device makers and pharmaceutical companies. Note to Max Baucus: insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies don’t pay taxes: they merely pass costs onto consumers.

We started the health care debate to reduce the unsustainable medical trend or to “bend the curve” and to reduce the number of uninsured. It is not clear that with a trillion and a half dollars of new spending taxes and cuts to Medicare we’ll really have accomplished anything. The only cost cutting measure in this bill of significance is cutting fees to physicians, hospitals, and others- which does very little to affect the trend of increasing medical costs and, in fact, is a one times savings.

I wonder what constitutes an unattractive alternative.

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