McCain Calls New Report ‘Dagger In The Heart’ Of Health Care Reform

December 11, 2009 12:55 pm

Republicans on Capitol Hill were overjoyed today by a new Department of Health and Human Services audit of the Democratic health care reform bill in the Senate they say shows the reforms will weaken America’s health care system rather than strengthen it.

“This report should put the dagger in the heart of the Reid bill,” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) told reporters this afternoon.

But the Democrats and the White House say Republicans are just reading the report wrong to further their plans to scuttle the bill.Details on the report from CBS News:

The actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), part of the Department of Health and Human Services, said in its report that spending from 2010 through 2019 would increase by 0.7 percent, primarily because of the “greater utilization of health care service by individuals becoming newly covered.”

An additional 33 million would be insured under the bill, the report said.

McCain was joined by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and other GOP leaders at the press conference where the group heralded the report as finally telling the truth about the Democratic reform package.

“This report confirms what we’ve long known,” McConnell said. “The Democrat plan will increase costs, raise premiums, and slash Medicare. That’s not reform. This analysis speaks for itself.”

But Democrats argued the report said something very different. From a White House blog post on the report published this afternoon:

So how did reform’s opponents manage to use this report to claim that costs will increase? They cherry-picked total expenditures at a singular, fixed point in time – ignoring the overall rate of cost growth, the impact on Medicare and America’s seniors, and the fact that millions of more Americans will be covered.

It’s the kind of claim folks here in Washington love. It might be technically “true” but it hardly explains the truth.

This evening, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had a similar take. From his statement:

“Senate Democrats are edging closer to delivering reform to America’s broken health system. Today’s report from the CMS actuary confirms that our bill will extend the Medicare Trust Fund’s solvency by nine years and reduce seniors’ premiums by $300 per couple per year by 2019. We are continuing to strengthen this bill on the Senate floor, and we’re already closer than ever to delivering historic reform to our broken health care system.”

Read more about McCain’s role in the health care debate here.

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