So, file this under “I have a bridge to sell you”, but if you believe the new CBO estimates handed out today, Obamacare would actually reduce the deficit by $81 billion over 10 years. I’m guessing someone in the administration finally got to these CBO guys and told them that they needed to toe the line or they might get a visit from Joey “the bat” Gambino.

First, let’s admit that for those of us who are not wild about this health-care plan, this isn’t good news for us. Opponents have been relying on the previous CBO estimates that pointed out that Obamacare would not be budget neutral. So, this takes an arrow out of our quiver . . . or does it?

Let’s realize that these numbers are highly debatable. The CBO relies on “conservative” estimates that historically have just not been true. The actual report released today states, “Those estimates are all subject to substantial uncertainty.” In other words, they are basically pulling these numbers out of their behind. How substantially uncertain are these estimates? Just as one example cited by Hot Air, in 1990 Medicare’s initial projection showed a $12 billion dollar expenditure for the year. The actual expenditure ended up being $170 billion, a mere 800 percent correction.

Second of all, this bill is not even close to anything resembling a final version. It doesn’t even include a public option (which is still DOA). You can rest assured that amendments will be introduced, parliamentary tactics will be used, and the real cost of this bill will not be reflected in any kind of realistic estimate.

However, this CBO report may give Democrats enough cover to try some shenanigans in order to get their bill passed. Harry Reid apparently has some trick up his sleeve where he plans on passing the bill without the public option (which is now more likely thanks to this report); thus avoiding a filibuster debate. Then he would add the public-option as an amendment afterwards, which would then only require 51 votes, not the 60 for cloture. From the Washington Examiner:

Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is weighing a plan to bring the final health care bill to the floor without a public option — making it much easier to get the 60 votes needed to prevent a Republican filibuster — and then adding the provision later as an amendment.
The public option amendment would be there waiting, but the 60-vote test would technically be on a bill without the government plan. Then moderate Democrats could drop out for the vote on the public option, which requires just 51 votes for passage.

“It’s brilliant,” said a top Senate Republican aide. “It gets you your votes on cloture for a package that does not include a public option.”

Reid has not revealed whether he will use this tactic, but he’s considering it.
“We haven’t made any decisions yet,” his spokesman, Jim Manley, said. “We have different options — that is one.”

Senate aides suggest that after passage in the upper chamber, the Senate bill — public option included — could then be sent to the House, allowing the lower chamber to simply pass Reid’s legislation instead of taking up its own bill. That route would avoid a protracted and contentious battle to meld two different bills and might allow President Obama and Democrats to achieve their goal of passing health care reform by year’s end.

Open-government proponents slammed the tactic, saying it would be a bait-and-switch gambit for the Senate to put forward a bill without a public insurance option, only to slip it in later.

Most ethical Congress evah!!! The point is, the Democrats are going to try any trick they can in order to push this crap on us, even though it’s clear that a majority of Americans don’t want it. The above trick is so transparent and obvious that even Obama voters can see right through it (I hope). But, it might not hurt to put a call into your senators and reps just to make sure, keep on ‘em.