Moderates Should Be Cautious on Health Care Reform

Washington, D.C., October 13, 2009—The Senate Finance
Committee today approved new health care legislation by a 14 to 9 vote and
reported it out to the full Senate. All of the committee’s Democrats and Maine
Republican Olympia Snowe voted in favor of the $829 billion bill, widely viewed
as the leading compromise proposal. Competitive Enterprise Institute Senior
Fellow Gregory Conko,
however, cautioned moderate Republicans and Democrats not to view this as the
end of the process, as the Finance Committee’s compromise will likely be undone
in on-going negotiations.

“Key Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
and House Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) remain wedded to a
government-run, or ‘public,’ health insurance option and other budget-busting
programs,” Conko noted.

The Finance Committee plan was the result of negotiations
between Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and several moderate Democrats and
Republicans. Now that the Senate Finance bill has been reported out of committee, however,
it will be subject to debate and amendment by the entire Senate, and again when
the final Senate proposal is reconciled with the House bill in conference

“Sen. Snowe should be commended for trying to eliminate the
worst aspects of the committee’s initial proposal, but her efforts to produce a
compromise are at risk of being for naught, since liberal Democrats remain
committed to the public option and have even taken to demonizing Baucus for his
willingness to compromise,” said Conko.

“Furthermore, the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate
that the Finance Committee bill would trim the federal budget deficit by $81
billion over ten years is laughable, since most Democrats still want to expand
many other benefits and have made no serious attempts to control the growth of
health care costs,” Conko added.


CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan
public interest group that studies the intersection of regulation, risk, and