It's easy to get cynical about the process of the health care bills. At this point, I'd say that conservative and liberal health care analysts both know the score. Everyone knows that this bill won't work as advertised: it will not cover as many people as promised, and it will run into budget shortfalls, if for no other reason than because Congress is not going to enact the cuts as written--they will get lobbied into repealing many of them. Doug Elmendorf has done everything but hire a skywriter to make it clear that he doesn't think that any of the various bills will actually be deficit neutral--while doing his job, which is to score what's written, not his best guess at what will happen.
Liberals don't care, because they think it's worth it to cover more people. Conservatives care, but their kabuki complaints about what everyone in the wonkosphere knows go mostly unheeded. I find it hard to get too outraged about any of it; I'm against the bill, but I think that this part of the process is playing out about as well as you can expect.
But then you have moments like the one I experienced the other night, in which I sat in a room full of journalists from various sectors who are not quite as deep into the policy weeds as I am--they're political reporters, not wonks. Good political reporters. Very well informed political reporters. And some of the questions really frightened me.