CBO smiles on Baucus health bill 

Criticism from the left and the right was heaped upon the latest Senate health care proposal much of Wednesday, but a rainbow emerged from the clouds at the end of the day in the form of a Congressional Budget Office report that found the bill would cost just $774 billion over the next decade, $82 billion less than projected by the bill's authors.

The CBO offered even more good news, finding that the bill would reduce the nation's staggering debt by a $16 billion in 2019. "After that, the added revenues and cost savings are projected to grow more rapidly than the cost of the coverage expansion," wrote CBO director Doug Elmendorf.

Elmendorf also found that the bill would reduce the number of uninsured by 29 million, about 1 million fewer people than President Obama talked about covering in his address to Congress a week ago.

The CBO figures could make it easier for some moderate Democrats to add their support to the bill, including the likes of Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., who tentatively endorsed the plan Wednesday morning as a good starting point.

The CBO said the bill would bring in $215 billion in revenues by taxing high-premium insurance plans (worth more than $8,000 for individuals and $21,000 for families) and $59 billion in revenues from "other sources."
 

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