Cost savings is essential in health care debate

Colorado’s senators, Michael Bennet and Mark Udall, are laudably saying that they want the health care legislation working its way through Congress not to increase the deficit.

It would be better to hear them talk about ways of actually reducing the deficit, but for the moment, we’re glad to hear they don’t want to exacerbate matters.

At the same time, however, Colorado’s senators want an end to arbitrary coverage limits for individuals. It’s pretty clear that limits on coverage also limit costs. Conversely, eliminating coverage limits encourages costs to increase, not to decrease.

That sounds as though the measures under consideration have contradictory goals and perhaps they do.

We say “perhaps” because no one actually knows what effect the Senate bill will have on the country. Experts, meanwhile, still are discovering hidden gems in the House bill.

The fact is, no one can predict exactly what any of this legislation will save — or cost. Not Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, not House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, not President Obama and certainly not Colorado senators Bennet and Udall, as they have admitted.

They, along with their constituents, are waiting for the Congressional Budget Office to score the bill, but they all say they want to vote by Christmas on the measure.

Christmas is in a mere nine days.

That’s precious little time for Americans to read, much less digest, thousands of pages of complex statutory language.

The Senate bill is on a track to passage despite unanimous Republican opposition. We are disheartened by this unilateral act on such sweeping legislation, should it occur.

We continue to urge Sens. Bennet and Udall to fight for the cost-saving reforms they both articulated when this health-care debate began.

Higher health-care costs and higher insurance premiums are the very last thing any of us need right now.


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