Senate Begins Historic Health Care Reform Debate

If I didn’t know any better, I’d say the Associated Press has an opinion on the health care reform debate that began today in Congress.

From the AP, via Yahoo! News:

Riven by partisanship, the Senate plunged into a widely anticipated debate Monday over sweeping health care legislation that President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats have vowed to approve and Republicans have sworn to block.

Debate is expected to last for weeks over the legislation, which includes a first-time requirement for most Americans to carry insurance and a mandate for insurers to cover any paying customer regardless ofmedical history or condition.

"We must avoid the temptation to drown in distractions and distortions," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in the first moments of the first speech, a jab at Republicans that was reciprocated minutes later.

"Well, I don’t know what’s more preposterous: saying that this plan ‘saves Medicare’ or thinking that people will actually believe you," Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said of Reid’s oft-made statement.

At a cost of nearly $1 trillion, the legislation is designed to extend health care to millions of American who lack it, abolish insurance industry practices such as denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions and cut back on the rise of health care spending overall.

Despite its huge price tag, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated the 2,074-page bill would reduce federal deficits by $130 billion over the next decade. In all, CBO said 31 million uninsured individuals would receive insurance if the bill were enacted, many of them assisted by federal subsidies. As much as 94 percent of the eligible population would wind up covered. The legislation would be paid for through a combination of cuts in projected Medicare payments to hospitals and other providers, a payroll tax on the wealthy and taxes on drug makers, medical device manufacturers, owners of high-cost insurance and others.

Mitch McConnell is being completely disingenuine. The Republicans have been working to dismantle Medicare for years. The best news is from the Congressional Budget Office. The plan is fiscally sound.

And I don’t want to hear any more Republicans screaming about having to read a 2,074-page bill. Grow up. You wanted to go to Washington. Now read.