More Obsession With Process

To add a little bit more about the Finance Committee Max Baucus’ merry band of rural health care crusaders, you’ll also notice the prominent position of CBO Director Doug Elmendorf. The Finance Committee being what it is, you might expect a greater emphasis on the budgetary impact of a bill, but one of the things that bothered me so much about this partiuclar band of legislators is the absurd focus on process. Again, the whole point of health care reform is to produce a good bill, not a bill that costs $1 trillion over 10 years. Maybe a good bill costs $1.3 trillion. Maybe a good bill — like the Wyden-Bennett bill — is revenue positive after several years. But in either case, crafting a bill to first and foremost appease budgeting convention and arbitrarily chosen spending limits lets uncooperative legislators take their pound of flesh regardless of whether the changes help accomplish the goals of health care reform or not. You don’t try and put out a fire by first deciding how much water you’re going to use, you use the resources you have to put out the fire.

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