Health reform could cut deficit by $138B, CBO says

The reconciliation proposal under fiery debate in Congress would shave $138 billion off the federal deficit over the next 10 years, according to a preliminary estimate by the Congressional Budget Office.

But the nonpartisan forecast is "more art than science," the Washington Post reports. Two scenarios could push those forecasts way off kilter: If the CBO under- or over-estimated the savings that could result from a heavier reliance on evidence-based medicine, or if future lawmakers make substantial changes to some of the provision's Medicare-related cost-saving measures, according to the newspaper.

Democrats are still rounding up enough votes to pass the $940 billion health bill in time for an expected vote Sunday. In a final push for its success, President Obama addressed students in Northern Virginia today, calling the legislation "enormously important for America's future," and likening the vote to the historic votes that launched Social Security and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, ABC News reported.

"This is going to be a very close vote, and it's crunch time," House Republican Leader John Boehner (Ohio) told Fox News Channel, the Wall Street Journal reported. "They're doing everything they can to get the votes. I'm doing everything I can to make sure members understand that they can vote with their constituents or they can vote with [House] Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi. But they can't do both."

For more information:
- read the Washington Post report
- check out ABC's coverage
- here's the Congressional Budget Office report