Take it away, Chris Cilizza:
That meeting also made plain the wide policy gap between the two parties; Democrats were focused primarily on expanding coverage, while Republicans were fixated on controlling costs.
Meanwhile, the Congressional Budget Office says [PDF] the Democrats' plan is the biggest deficit-reducer in 15 years:
CBO and JCT estimate that enacting both pieces of legislation—H.R. 3590 and the reconciliation proposal— would produce a net reduction in federal deficits of $138 billion over the 2010–2019 period as result of changes in direct spending and revenue... [it would also] reduce federal budget deficits over the ensuing decade relative to those projected under current law—with a total effect during that decade that is in a broad range around one-half percent of GDP.
The bill also reduces Medicare expenditures by 1.4 percentage points a year. Which is to say, Cilizza's descriptions of the two sides is pure b.s., and, sadly, they appear in an otherwise sensible article.
Republicans have consistently opposed many cost-control measures, from an independent medical advisory commission to insurance exchanges, while touting ideas like malpractice reform that do reduce costs but only by small amounts. And malpractice reform policies are in the bill! Read David Cutler. Cillizza literally refuses to believe that someone could care about reducing costs and expanding coverage at the same time, despite the bare facts.
-- Tim Fernholz