"The whole reason we're doing this bill is to bring down cost, first for the American people in health care, and secondly for the deficit," said Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri. "So until we get the numbers back from the Congressional Budget Office, we're all on hold."
Asked if she would vote against the bill if it raised health care costs
overall, she said, "Absolutely."
As I've said before, I'm a big fan of Claire McCaskill. I think she's sensible and fair-minded -- much like the president. I also think she's absolutely right in this case. What's the point of health care reform if we're not bringing down costs? Certainly, increasing access is a key priority, but expanding health care coverage without addressing health care inflation is a no-win situation:
CBO projects that if current laws do not change, federal spending on Medicare and Medicaid combined will grow from roughly 5 percent of GDP today to almost 10 percent by 2035. By 2080, the government would be spending almost as much, as a share of the economy, on just its two major health care programs as it has spent on all of its programs and services in recent years.