The CBO attributed the differences in these estimates to a number of technical corrections that had to be made regarding estimates on the bill's insurance coverage provisions. The newest figures also reflect an updated assumption of when the bill would be enacted, “a step that is now assumed to occur in the spring of 2010,” the CBO stated. The previous estimate assumed enactment by the end of December 2009.
The Senate's legislation is being prepped for a vote in the House. If successful, the goal of congressional Democrats is to swiftly amend the Senate bill in both chambers via a separate “sidecar” bill through the reconciliation process.
Doing so “is going to be a heavy lift,” however, Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), predicted at a Health Affairs briefing. Gregg, ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, compared the Senate-passed broad healthcare reform bill to “an asteroid,” and that it was inappropriate to try to amend such a gigantic provision through a simple majority vote or reconciliation.
Gregg was pessimistic on the idea of the House approving the Senate bill through a “deeming resolution,” where it would be considered as passed, with no vote taking place. “How outrageous would it be if the biggest piece of public policy legislation in the last 50 years was passed on the basis of a deeming resolution without a vote. The American people would show up with pitchforks” to Capitol Hill, he said.
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