A True Compromise, for Better or Worse
By Ben Pershing
At some point in the last few months, Max Baucus apparently decided to test the cliche that a true compromise should irritate everyone.
One day after Baucus released his long-awaited compromise health care measure, the most common theme in the coverage is just how unhappy all sides are with both the bill and its author. "It appears that no one is happy with ... Baucus -- and that may be the best news President Obama has had in months," the Washington Post writes. The White House gave a tepid response, but the administration is certatinly happy to have a bill that moves the process forward. And business groups and other private-sector stakeholders either responded positively or were muted in their criticism. The bill, the Associated Press reports, "gives health insurers, drug makers and large employers reasons to heave sighs of relief, sparing them the higher costs and more burdensome rules included in other Democratic-written alternatives."
The bill's price tag -- $774 billion -- is either the best or worst thing about it, depending on whom you ask. Fiscal hawks will cheer that it meets Obama's goal of expanding coverage without adding to the deficit, but many Democrats complain that it mandates individuals buy health insurance while providing inadequate subsidies to help them pay for it. Kaiser Health News writes that the question of how much people can really afford to pay for insurance is "at the heart of the current debate" and "there is not a firm consensus" among any of the players involved on the answer.
Posted at 8:27 AM ET on Sep 17, 2009
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