TPM News

The CBO has weighed in with a preliminary cost estimate of the House's health care bill--and there are almost certainly some very happy people in House leadership.

At $894 billion, the bill's 10 year cost comes in a hair under President Obama's $900 billion red line. But, more politically and substantively important, the bill is projected to reduce the deficit in both the first 10 years and the second 10 years after enactment, just as Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) told me earlier today.

Over the first 10 years, revenues and savings are projected to exceed new spending (aka it reduces the deficit) by $104 billion. Projections into the following decade are, as CBO chief Doug Elmendorf always notes, very dicey. But Elmendorf says that, from 2020-2029, "the added revenues and cost savings are projected to grow slightly more rapidly than the cost of the coverage expansions." In other words, though the government will pay more and more each year in subsidies and expanded entitlements, it will be realizing savings and collecting revenues at a greater rate.

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The new Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll of New Jersey gives Republican Chris Christie a one-point lead, in a race that has been on a knife's edge between him and Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine.

The numbers: Christie 42%, Corzine 41%, and independent Chris Daggett with 14%, with a ±4% margin of error. Four weeks ago, Christie led by 46%-42%-7%.

Both major candidates are viewed negatively by voters. Corzine's favorable rating is only 38%, with 55% unfavorable, while Christie is at 43%-46%. Daggett is in positive territory, but only with 35%-16% and nearly half of voters having no opinion of him.

The Congressional Budget Office has just released its score of the House health care reform bill, which was unveiled this morning.

The bill will reduce the deficit by $104 billion over the first 10 years, according to the CBO. It will also cost $894 billion. (President Obama has said he won't sign a bill that costs more than $900 billion.)

Check out the full report, in PDF form, here.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was mum today about her level of confidence in the White House's commitment to the public option going forward.

On a conference call with reporters and bloggers this afternoon, I asked Pelosi whether, given recent reports about the President Obama's reluctance to push for a public option in the Senate, she was confident he'd be supportive of the measure going forward.

Pelosi said she's been too busy to gauge the White House's commitment to the public option, but suggested that Obama may need to be a bit more persuaded of its political viability if he's going to throw his weight behind it.

"I guess I'm just so busy with what I'm doing that I'm not worrying about what somebody else is doing, and I have confidence in the President of the United States. He wants the strongest best possible bill that will work for the American people. And we have to convince him that what will pass in the Congress is something similar to what we have in the House," Pelosi said

Pelosi acknowledged that a more robust public option--one with payment rates tied to Medicare--was always a long shot in Congress.

"We knew the Senate was not going to that place if even Senator Kennedy was not going in that place," Pelosi said, referring to the fact that an early version of Senate legislation contained a public option with negotiated rates similar to the one she unveiled today.

But that's about as low as she's willing to go. "I don't see any way to go less than that, as good as it is."

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After the Associated Press ran a story pointing out several errors in the administration's stimulus job numbers, the White House sent out a lengthy press release calling the story "misleading."

The AP's story, called "Stimulus jobs overstated by thousands," is a review of the stimulus's first progress report and shows errors in the numbers of jobs the government claims to have created. According to the AP, at least 5,000 of the claimed 30,000 jobs weren't real.

But the White House took immediate issue with the story, contacting the AP and shooting out a release to its entire press list just after midnight today. The administration also sent out Jared Bernstein, Vice President Biden's chief economist, on MSNBC to talk about the story.

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The Chamber of Commerce's lawsuit against the Yes Men is "a comedy and a travesty," according to one member of the prankster group and a target of the suit.

"All they care about is taking money out of ordinary people's pockets and putting it in the pockets of the super rich," Mike Bonanno told TPMmuckraker in an interview this afternoon.

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The new Democracy Corps (D) poll of New Jersey gives Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine a five-point lead over his main rival, Republican former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie.

The numbers: Corzine 43%, Christie 38%, and independent Chris Daggett 12%, with a ±4% margin of error. A week ago, Corzine led in the three-way poll by 42%-39%-13%.

When Daggett-supporters are pushed to choose between one of the top two candidates, Corzine's five-point lead holds steady at 47%-42%. This would suggest that Daggett is taking from both candidates equally at this point, despite a general impression during much of this race that he's taken more votes from Christie.

A few hours after the House Democrats dropped their health care plan, and as they are still counting votes on whether it has enough support, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is raising money on the public option that's included in the bill.

The fundraising email subject line sure is attention getting: "Breaking News: Strong Public Option Introduced."

In the message to DCCC supporters, Chairman Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) lauds the health care plan and thanks Democrats for standing up and speaking out. And then he asks for more cash:

"Now that we've taken this historic step, the media, pundits, and defenders of the status quo are wondering, "How will you respond?" Help us raise $50,000 by MIDNIGHT TONIGHT to send a powerful message that the American people stand behind a strong public option and comprehensive health care reform."

Full email after the jump.

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TPMDC has learned that House Democrats are whipping the new health care bill Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced this morning.

Here's the text of the question Democratic members must respond to this afternoon.


Will you support passage of the Affordable Health Care for America Act?


***Please send your response to your assigned Regional Whip NO LATER than 3:00pm TODAY***

The Affordable Health Care for America Act Bill Summary

***The full text of the legislation will be available on the website of the Committee on Rules: ***

***The attached document compares the Affordable Health Care for America Act to H.R. 3200, as introduced***

Yesterday, Sen. Evan Bayh joined his colleague Joe Lieberman in suggesting that he may oppose health-care reform, citing concerns about the deficit. Bayh has long been one of the more conservative members of the Democratic caucus. But is his stance also affected by the fact that his wife has reportedly earned at least $2 million over the last six years as a member of the board of a major health insurer?

Susan Bayh's affiliation with Indianapolis-based WellPoint isn't news. But a new report on TheStreet digs into the details. It also finds that last year, Susan Bayh sat on four other corporate boards, in addition to WellPoint's. She received over $656,0000 in cash and stock for all her board work, around half of which came from WellPoint.

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