After a couple of weeks where it seemed that the air was leaking out of the balloon for national health reform, it seems to have picked up steam.
Yes, I know, that's mixing metaphors.
But over the past two weeks or so, the critics have been very vocal, and the poll numbers have shown less and less support for the President and for his push for national health reform. In addition, the report by the director of the CBO (Congressional Budget Office), saying that none of the proposals would save any money, was devastating.
So, just when it seemed that things were slowing down, and even some were talking about nothing happening in Congress this year, this happened
¢ The various factions in the House of Representatives have been working toward a consolidated proposal.
¢ The Blue Dog Democrats in the House have been deeply involved in shaping the refined proposal, with an emphasis on cost containment.
¢ The Senate Finance Committee and others are nearing agreement, apparently, on a proposal, also with significant new emphasis on cost control.
¢ The CBO is scoring these new ideas as costing $900 billion over ten years, which is down from the former proposals which were over a trillion dollars.
¢ And President Obama is investing a huge amount of his time and energy in this effort, including coming today to Raleigh for a town hall meeting.
All of this is still very much in motion, and it is way to soon to make firm predictions.
But it seems that the odds of thorough-going national health reform have just improved. Let's hope so.
As ever, the devil is in the details and there are a LOT of details here, yet to be sorted out.