The Senate is about to take up Harry Reid’s health-care bill, and Reid is definitely in the crosshairs. He is under pressure both within the Senate to come up with 60 votes, and he’s also facing a difficult election back home. One prominent political analyst this morning who told me that Reid’s race has the same feel as Tom Daschle’s race did going into 2004. Reid may get his 60 votes, but that might put him in a tougher spot with respect to his state.
In addition, even if he gets the 60 votes, he will not be getting a bill that cuts costs or reduces premiums. Today’s Washington Post quotes the Brookings Institution’s Isabel Sawhill on this subject as follows: ”The hope that health-care reform would take care of our budget problem has evaporated.”
With respect to premiums, CBO has just released its report on the bill’s effect on insurance premiums, and found that the bill would increase premiums by 10-13 percent in 2016 for non-group purchasers. The non-group purchasers are presumably the people that the legislation is trying to help. Many of them will get subsidies, but according to CBO, 43 percent of people in that non-group insurance market would see these premiium hikes and not receive any subsidies whatsoever.
In all three of these ways, a short-term victory for the Democrats may lead to longer-term defeats down the road.