In the brouhaha over Lieberman, I haven't seen much attention paid to this, from Missouri's Claire McCaskill:

"The whole reason we're doing this bill is to bring down cost, first for the American people in health care, and secondly for the deficit," said Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri. "So until we get the numbers back from the Congressional Budget Office, we're all on hold."

Asked if she would vote against the bill if it raised health care costs overall, she said, "Absolutely."

But what does she mean by costs?  If she means spending, she just announced that she's voting against it, because that's the one thing everyone agrees that every bill does; if you want to cover more people, you have to spend more money.  Does she mean the rate of cost inflation?  Government spending?  Insurance premiums?  The health care portion of the budget deficit?  Only a few of them give you a yes vote; the others all say "No."  There seems to be a lot of speculation that she's paving the way to back out if this thing gets any more unpopular.

If that happens, the game's over.  Democrats might be able to replace one missing member.  Two would be nearly impossible.  And three would mean passing a bill whose primary feature is tort reform.

On the other hand, this bill has been declared dead--and inevitable--a dozen times or more.  Covering health care may be time consuming, but it's certainly not dull . . .

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