Yesterday's estimate by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) that a much touted healthcare cost-control measure would save next to nothing was a major blow to Democrats' hopes of passing healthcare reform soon.

The report follows a previous estimate by the CBO that the House Democrats' plan in general would do little to control costs.

The question now is, will Democrats start to actively push back against CBO estimates?

The CBO has long been considered a neutral umpire in legislative budget battles. But one has to wonder how long the CBO can publicly question the Democrats' number one legislative priority before the White House and its allies start to respond.

Here, for example, is Paul Krugman on ABC's This Week:
"I think I should say something about that CBO thing, which really surprised a lot of people...

Most of the healthcare economists I talk to think that the MedPac reform...would actullay be quite important, especially if you go into the long run. So they were really kind of surprised.

And there's a kind of sense that CBO, faced with--no one can put a hard number on this, but CBO ksort of said if we can't put a hard number on it, we're going to say it's zero. And that seems to be wrong. There's every reason to think that being more careful about what Medicare is willing to pay for can save a lot of money. And this was kind of a destructive comment by Doug Elmendorf at CBO."

Will elected Democrats start to echo that sentiment?