Senate bill draws kudos, continued doubts

In the blogosphere, health-policy experts have given the Senate health reform bill kudos for trying everything under the
sun to reduce health care spending, but there are lingering doubts about whether it will really work.

can’t think of a thing to try that they didn’t try,” Jonathan Gruber, a health economist at the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, told The Atlantic. “They really make the best effort anyone has ever made. Everything
is in here. … I can’t think of anything I’d do that they are not doing in the bill. You couldn’t have
done better than they are doing.”

Even Mark McClellan, who ran the federal Medicare
program for Republican President George W. Bush, praised the bill advanced by President Obama and congressional

“It would be good if more could be done, but this is the right direction
to go,” he told The Atlantic’s Ron Brownstein. You can read his piece here.

But at least one ardent
Obama supporter doesn’t believe it will actually happen—and he doesn’t blame Obama.
He blames Congress.

Jeff Goldsmith, president of Virginia-based Health Futures Inc. and a
professor of public health sciences at the University of Virginia,
lists five big areas where the health reform bills count on future Congresses to make tough
decisions to hold down federal spending. You can read his blog post here.

And he has no faith that they will come through.

show the American people tend to agree with him. A November Quinnipiac University survey found that only
one in five Americans—and only one in three Democrats—believe health
care reform will not add to the deficit.

“The reason almost no one believes health reform
will be deficit-neutral,” Goldsmith wrote, “is our political system’s lavishly demonstrated
inability to say no to anyone.”

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