It has been 178 days since Democrats introduced the first version of President Obama's health plan, and a growing chorus of voices is demanding that the Congressional Budget Office reveal the full cost of Sen. Harry Reid's health care legislation -- including the cost of the private-sector mandates.
- Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Kevin Ferris writes: "Have the CBO score the entire Senate bill -- both on-budget expenses and off. Let senators and taxpayers see the real cost - before a vote is taken. Then decide what the nation can afford."
- Former New Jersey Governor and EPA administrator Christie Whitman -- who should know a little something about private-sector mandates -- writes: "the CBO estimates do not count the costs the private sector will have to pay to insurance companies as 'taxes,' even though they are surely costs for the system...I believe we need health care reform in this country. But we should start with honest accounting, responsible fiscal policies for the sake of our grandchildren, and a recognition of who is really going to shoulder the burden of this undertaking. Anything less is just more of the same."
I also had an oped in Sunday's Richmond Times-Dispatch where I argue that if Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) really meant what he wrote to Majority Leader Harry Reid back in October about holding an open and honest debate, Webb should insist on a complete CBO cost estimate -- including the cost of the private-sector mandates -- before the bill moves any further.
(Cross-posted at National Journal’s Health Care Experts Blog.)