I watched Charlie Rose interview Nancy Pelosi last night, and it was quite a sparring match. A few excerpts: When Rose asked why the legislative version of health reform does not do more to control costs, Speaker Pelosi responded "It's about a different system", and within a few seconds added "Everyone can keep their doctor". When Rose asked about the total cost of the bill, the Speaker responded "CBO just scores the impact on the federal budget.... The bill is about wellness, prevention, and innovation". When asked why passing health care now is so important, Speaker Pelosi said "The health care bill is a job creator and reducer of the federal deficit.... It is a pillar of economic growth." When asked whether or not health care should be deferred so that economic stimulus, climate change, and other legislation could be addressed, she replied "No. They are all connected. We must have leverage over the insurance industry. Health care is a jobs bill". Later: "The health reform bill is about history, progress, innovation, entrepreneurial discipline, families, and jobs."
I thought this exchange was interesting because, at least in the eyes of the Speaker, health reform is not really about health care but about controlling the costs of the health sector in order to spur economic growth. If so, the bill's new health care taxes and inability to stem the tide of rising medical costs will be big disappointments.