Health Reform Rumbles

Republicans in the Congress began their real effort to attack the Obama health reform law, using a pair of hearings to launch a variety of attacks, as the GOP was presented with a golden piece of information from one witness.

That piece of info came from the Chief Actuary of Medicare and Medicaid, Richard Foster, who told the House Budget Committee that two main claims of the Obama Administration about the health law probably won’t come true.

Foster said the health law probably won’t drive the cost of health care down as promised – and he also raised questions about the repeated claim of the White House that everyone will be able to keep their health insurance if they like it.

The answers were trumpeted throughout the day by Republicans, and are certain to be repeated for weeks and weeks to come as Republicans try to find a way to overturn this controversial law.

In his prepared remarks, Foster – who has been a fly in the ointment on this subject before for the Obama Administration – said some estimated savings for the health law were “unrealistic.”

“Most Americans understand that something is just not adding up here,” said House Budget Chair Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI).

That news angle came as Republicans readied a pair of challenges to the health reform law in the Senate, the repeal bill that was approved last week in the House (H.R. 2) and a separate Senate bill introduced by a group of Republican Senators.

Those bills were officially placed on the Senate Calendar, which gives supporters a variety of parliamentary choices now that can be made in order to force action on a health reform law repeal bill.

It was unclear last night whether Democrats would decide to allow a debate sooner rather than later.

The way the Senate’s rules are set up insures that – at some point – Republicans will be able to force some type of procedural vote that deals with the repeal measure.

The latest dustup over the health reform bill also came as a new estimate arrived from the Congressional Budget Office, which raised the estimated budget deficit for Fiscal Year 2011 to nearly $1.5 trillion.

The estimate was raised almost $400 billion because of the tax deal on the Bush tax rates that was struck late last year, as the CBO says less tax revenue will come into Uncle Sam because of the lower tax rates.

Republicans denounced that “scoring” of the tax plan, though it didn’t stop them from blasting the White House and Democrats for being the reason behind a possible new record deficit.