With President Obama staking his future on passing universal health care reform, the end game has begun.
On Thursday, the Congressional Budget Office put forth that Obamacare would cost $940 billion over 10 years, but would actually bring down deficit spending over the same period of time because health care costs would decline.
Republicans don't believe those numbers, and point to the universal health care system in Massachusetts where costs have risen every year. In fact, the Bay State is now asking the feds for almost $500 million to bail out their health care programs.
But with the cover the CBO is now providing, it looks like the Democrats may get the votes they need to pass Obamacare, and that could happen on Sunday.
"Talking Points" will say it again: Nobody knows if universal health care will work. The estimates of cost are just that: estimates. The Massachusetts model, passed in 2006 under Republican Gov. Mitt Romney, has not worked as expected.
But the president remains supremely confident that his vision will work and that 32 million currently uninsured folks will get health insurance, most of it subsidized by the federal government.
If it passes on Sunday, Obamacare will be the biggest entitlement since Medicare was passed in 1965.
The polls, however, continue to say most Americans do not want Obamacare: 52 percent oppose in Thursday's Rasmussen poll; 55 percent oppose in the brand-new Fox News/Opinion Dynamics Poll.
But Mr. Obama believes that once health care costs begin to decline, he will be a hero. That is his calculation.
There is no question that the USA is embracing a more liberal philosophy, but that could change as early as next November.
But give the president this. He has our attention. This health care deal has galvanized the country and is forcing people to take sides.
Do you want big government to impose social justice? Or do you want a smaller Washington presence that regulates but does not mandate fair play in corporate America?
Remember, the big reason Barack Obama got elected is that Wall Street hustlers ruined the economy.
"Talking Points" was correct in predicting that a public option would not be a part of Obamacare, and we also might be right about the Democrats avoiding that sneaky "deem" vote in the house.
And even though it is still incredibly close, the odds are Obamacare will pass. The CBO report Thursday gives wavering Democrats an excuse. That's all they need.
And that's "The Memo."
Pinheads & Patriots
Even though Bret Baier got some criticism for his interview with the president, David Zurawik, a liberal guy who writes for Baltimore Sun, said this:
"Praise Baier for being thoroughly prepared and hitting a very difficult tone of being appropriately aggressive without being hectoring or rude. It was a textbook encounter of how the press should engage the executive branch of government. Think of it as the antidote to NBC anchorman Brian Williams' bow to Obama in his prime-time White House special last year."
True. Mr. Zurawik is a patriot.
On the pinhead front, welcome Mr. Vice President:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You all know St. Patrick's was credited with banishing snakes from Ireland. You guys know the truth, sometimes. There were never any snakes in Ireland. St. Patrick just made that up, which for the first time, I realized, explained why he's the patron saint of Fox News.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Yes, that is Jesse Jackson sitting next to me. It was all in good fun. Pinhead-y fun.
— You can catch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" and "Pinheads & Patriots" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the FOX News Channel and any time on foxnews.com/oreilly. Send your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org