“They were less than expected” said Rep. Gene Green (D., Texas) of early, unofficial CBO scores.
In a bill that, by the Democrats' own lights, will cost nearly $1 trillion over the next decade, a lousy billion spread out over four years doesn't sound like much. But consider that reconciliation is designed for deficit-cutting, and nearly all of the House's differences with the Senate bill -- the donut hole, the expansion of the Cornhusker Kickback to all 50 states, bigger subsidies -- are in the direction of increased spending. Moreover, the delay and watering-down of the Cadillac tax will be scored as a revenue-decreasing measure, further putting the Democrats in the hole.
It is almost as if the reconciliation process were ill-suited for something like Obamacare.