The wonderful and all powerful OZ, the CBO, will guide her vote as if it came from GOD! And she was so proud to be in a bipartisan agreement with Mr. Wingnut himself, Judd Gregg, that she almost couldn't control herself.
Senator McCaskill, do you know enough about the Reid compromise to say whether you’ll support it?
MCCASKILL: Well, 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. So until we get the numbers back from the Congressional Budget Office, we’re all on hold.
Until -- I have to be assured that this is going to bring down the deficit and it’s going to bring down health care costs for most Missouri families. WALLACE: And if it doesn’t?
MCCASKILL: Well, then we are going to have to go back to the drawing board. I’m optimistic we’re going to get a bill. There’s a lot of good stuff in this bill. There’s a lot of misinformation out there about this bill. So I’m optimistic we’re going to get a good piece of legislation passed.
But all of us are focused on those two very important ingredients, bringing down the deficit and bringing down health care costs for most American families.
WALLACE: Senator Gregg, do you know enough about the Reid compromise to be able to say whether or not you’ll support it?
GREGG: I don’t think anybody’s seen it. Basically, it’s being drafted in camera, behind closed doors, by Senator Reid and a few folks. We’ve seen the outlines of it, which are very, very suspicious relative to their effects on cost, which Claire has outlined is one of the primary concerns.
We just got an actuarial summary of the present bill, the present Reid bill, which was done by the president’s actuary, CMS. They said that the cost curve goes up under the Reid bill by $235 billion.
In addition, we know that if you let people buy into Medicare at age 55 instead of going on Medicare when they qualify for it in the 60s that you’re going to definitely get the people who are the sickest buying in, and therefore the cost of Medicare is clearly going to go up.
Now, Medicare is already a bankrupt program. It’s got $38 trillion of unfunded liability out there. And I think putting more people into Medicare is going to simply aggravate the bankruptcy of the program which is coming at us.
WALLACE: Senator McCaskill, those were two of the points I was going to raise with you. I mean, the Reid plan would expand Medicare, which is already in serious financial trouble, and no one knows how much this plan will cost.
Isn’t it crazy to talk about passing a plan that affects a sixth of the economy in the next couple of weeks?
MCCASKILL: No, it’s not. We’ve been working on this for months and months. There’s...
WALLACE: But not this part of it.
MCCASKILL: Well, there have been all kinds of things in this bill that the Republicans -- in fact, there’s a lot of Republican amendments in this bill that we’re debating right now.
And here’s the thing. We’ve got two different analysis of this bill, and the bill’s not complete yet. Both of them say that this bill is going to extend the life of Medicare. Both of these -- both CMS and CBO say we’re going to extend the life of Medicare.
And both of them say we’re going to reduce the deficit long term.
And both of them say for most Americans it’s going to stabilize the cost of health care over time and begin to bend that cost curve.
So we’ve got to stay focused on the positive things in this bill. You know, there’s a lot of politics around this thing. This is the time of year not only do the planes stack up in terms of legislation we’re considering, but it’s also the time of year that we drift away from policy and start playing bare-knuckled politics.