The House ‘Tri-Comm’ Bill: An Update

The Majority's New Trillion-Dollar Health Care Entitlement (H.R. 3200)

The updated cost estimate for the Majority’s health care “reform” only clarifies what previous analyses had shown: the proposal creates a new trillion-dollar Federal health entitlement, initiates a takeover of the health care sector, and offers nothing to moderate the “cost curve” that is making health coverage more difficult for Americans to obtain. It is no wonder the Ways and Means Committee plowed through its markup of the bill last Thursday night, before the cost estimate was completed. This week, the Energy and Commerce Committee will take its turn at promoting this vast expansion of government, and increased intervention in one of the most personal and important services Americans have.

Energy and Commerce is the third of three committees to take up the legislation – the others being Ways and Means and Education and Labor. Due to this trio of players, the measure often is referred to as the tri-committee, or “Tri-Comm,” bill; and what is known about the plan so far makes clear why Americans’ support for it is declining.

  • According to Friday’s estimate by the Congressional Budget Office [CBO], the measure will cost at least $1 trillion; will raise taxes by $583 billion; will impose $219 billion of what the Democrats would call “cuts” in Medicare; and will still raise the budget deficit by $239 billion. (See Figure 1.)
  • This violates one of the President’s basic principles: that health care reform should not add to the government’s river of red ink. During a House Budget Committee hearing last month, Office of Management and Budget Director Orszag said: “And so, just to reinforce the point, what we are saying is that health care reform must be deficit neutral using CBO-scored, hard, scoreable offsets, over 10 years and in the 10th year.”

Read the full report here.