When a constituent of Rep. Pete Stark pushed the congressman to support the House's single-payer plan put forth by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), he said the votes were just not there and the country preferred incremental progress on health care.
Incredulous, the man said, at the time, 77 members of Congress had co-sponsored Conyers' far more progressive bill and asked Stark how many had sponsored his bill (AB 3200). Stark stumbled and admitted he didn't know. The man answered, "eight." The group at the Alameda Democratic Club groaned and a few giggled at the disparity.
Of course, the question becomes are all congressman created equal? Stark's bill was supported by the House leadership, therefore, tacitly favored by the White House at the time. Now, it seems even Stark is bailing on the bill after the chief actuary of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said the plan will severely add to the deficit, a key no-no to any plan according to the president.
The report said the plan would cost $4.8 trillion by 2019, while simply doing nothing would run $4.7 trillion.
"In some respects this analysis is consistent with that of Congressional Budget Office (CBO), but there are also some dramatic departures," Stark said. "It is also incomplete and out-of-date relative to what will ultimately be voted on in the House of Representatives." Stark also took a jab at Republicans, who often reminded Democrats in the minority the analysis from the CBO was gospel.
When Stark says "out-of-date" he likely means AB 3200 is DOA. Instead, Version 2.0, including a new marketing plan to placate disaffected liberals is underway. Earlier, this week Speaker Nancy Pelosi trumpeted a new CBO analysis that will costs $900 billion over 10 years, much closer to what the administration desire and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid boldly said some form of the public option plan could attract the needed 60 votes to avoid a Republican filibuster.
-STEVEN TAVARESJOIN THE REVOLUTION! www.eastbaycitizen.com