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Baucus Plan Draws Fire From all Sides

By Ben Pershing
Speaking on 60 Minutes Sunday night, President Obama recalled an adviser telling him that health-care reform "will be pronounced dead at least four or five times" before finally succeeding. This week could be one of those times, or it could be the rare moment in the debate so far when Obama's fellow optimists have the upper hand.

Max Baucus said Monday that he was very near unveiling the Finance Committee's reform proposal, and that it would address "a host of GOP concerns, including blocking illegal immigrants from gaining access to subsidized insurance, urging limits on medical malpractice lawsuits and banning federal subsidies for abortion," the Washington Post writes. The plan represents Baucus' last, best effort to attract Republican votes, and if it doesn't work, the chairman will likely claim that he did his best to meet members of the minority halfway. The early indicators are that Chuck Grassley and Mike Enzi won't get on board, as the two Republicans "have requested numerous major changes" and "catalogued their concerns in documents sent to" Baucus, the New York Times reports. Jonathan Cohn points out that "regardless of which Republicans sign on, affordability is going to be a major source of controversy, both within the Finance Committee and outside of it."

Baucus' fellow Democrats have concerns of their own, the Wall Street Journal writes. Ron Wyden fears that the plan's subsidies would be too small to make coverage affordable. And John Kerry doesn't like the new taxes being used to pay for reform, including a levy on the most expensive health plans. They and other Democrats will likely offer numerous amendments to Baucus' bill during markup. Politico writes that the coming fights over issues like Medicaid, abortion and illegal immigrants aren't just about policy details, they're about fundamental philosophical differences between the two parties.

Continue reading at Political Browser »

By Ben Pershing  |  September 15, 2009; 8:30 AM ET
Categories:  The Rundown  
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The bottom line about Max Baucus is that he is outright OWNED by the Health Insurance and PhARMA lobbies. He was one of the key Democrats who sold America out in pushing through the "Medicare Improvement Act" of 2004.

That legislation, passed illegitimately in a 5 hour vote on the House floor, locked in guaranteed profits for private health insurance companies, as well as prohibiting the federal government from even being ABLE to negotiate the price of prescription drugs for the millions of Medicare recipients.

Since the passage of that bill, prescription drug prices have skyrocketed (especially generic) and more than $100 billion dollars of TAXPAYER money has gone to the PhARMA companies in huge windfall profits. Additionally, premiums from private insurers have risen steadily, partly because Baucus's legislation in 2004 forestalled the public option that America desperately needs and will eventually have.

Simply put, Max Baucus cannot be trusted to do what's best for "we, the People". His masters have taken very good care of him to the tune of millions in campaign contributions. You can look it up!

Posted by: curtnevan | September 16, 2009 1:31 AM | Report abuse

The Congress is back in session and doing the dirty work for the Medical Industrial Complex.

mcconnell $3.3M, hatch $2.9M, baucus $2.8M, grassley $2.7M,
lieberman $2.6M, burr $2.4M, ensign $2.4M, cornyn $2.2M, kyl $2.1M,
conrad $2.1M, cantor $1.8M boehner $1.7M, coburn $1.2M, j wilson 800K
were paid by the Medical Industrial Complex to kill Health Care Reform.

Citizens for Tax Justice pointed this out. The tax legislation enacted under President George W. Bush from 2001 through 2006 will cost $2.48 trillion over the 2001-2010 period. This includes the revenue loss of $2.11 trillion that results directly from the Bush tax cuts as well as the $379 billion in additional interest payments on the national debt that we must make since the tax cuts were deficit-financed. Over the upcoming decade (2010-2019), the costs of the health care proposals approved by three committees in the U.S. House of Representatives are projected to be around $1 trillion and deficit neutral(that means they're paid for). In 2010, when all the Bush tax cuts are finally phased in, a staggering 52.5 percent of the benefits will go to the richest 5 percent of taxpayers. The Bush tax cuts were deficit-financed, which increased the national debt and resulted in greater interest payments on that debt. They never even tried to pay for their tax-cuts. So, for the price of bush's tax-cuts for the wealthiest 5%, we could have had Health Care for every American. Instead Americans got bupkus and cheney/bush's republican buddies got filthy rich off of the Blood Money from No-Bid, Cost-Plus Federal Contracts.

12 Million Americans were denied Health Care Coverage by the Medical Industrial Complex because they had a Pre-Existing Medical Condition. 12K Americans lose Insurance Coverage everyday. Over 18K Americans die each day because they lack health insurance. (Source: WaPo Article 05' by Harvard Prof. E. Warren)

Follow the Money: Link

Call Congress and demand, Single-Payer Health Care for All!

Sign Single-Payer Petition: Link

Don't let the Medical Industrial Complex steal your Health Care from you and your family by donating huge sums of money to Crooked Politicians in order to maintain the Status Quo. Keep up the good fight.


Posted by: NAVDOC3rdMAR | September 15, 2009 7:35 PM | Report abuse

One wonders about the 'unintended consequences' to the initial 'unintended consequences'.

Posted by: stanleygoldm | September 15, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Baucus has already been bought and paid for by the major opponents of healthcare. Or should I say the major proponents of the status quo.

Posted by: jalli87583 | September 15, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Gov't-enabled atrocities make health care reform a cruel joke...


• Community policing- based warrantless GPS-activated vigilante stalking, harassment, vandalism, financial exploitation enabled by federal and local law enforcement

• Is Team Obama naive, misinformed, or complicit?

OR (if link is corrupted / disabled): RE: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | September 15, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Max Baucus has been trying to negotiate a bipartisan health care reform bill. No negotiations will work when at least two of the three republicans had no intention of signing on no matter what bill they came up with. Senator Grassley said he had no intention of signing any bill during the August recess as did Enzi of Wyoming. At this point in time, unless their is a republican with the courage to stand on their own for the good of their constituents, there will be no republicans signing on to any bill. Democrats need to remember this is for the people that need it even if it might work against them in the nexxt election. When they allow re-election fears to stand between what is good for the constituents, it is time for them to go anyway. They have forgotten whaat they went there for. This is an absolute necessity to pass this health care reform now, no matter what the consequences to their political aspirations.

Posted by: alaskan2 | September 15, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Democrats' proposal to tax "Gold plated health insurance policies" was removed from the debate. They realized that millions of government employees would fall under this tax---Ooops! Then the promise by Senator Bacaus that no illegal aliens will receive health care under the plan. Federal law already requires that no one can be refused care at emergency rooms. Oh,and after the health care bill is passed Congress will be pushed to give amnesty to all illegal aliens. Problem solved! No illegals getting health care. Pure Bait and switch. How about the proposal in the bill that will unionize millions of health care workers? Think of all the billions of dollars in union dues that will spawn. And, the bill will grant taxpayer money of 10 billion dollars to bail out current union health care programs. Hmmm. I need to sign up for a union.

Posted by: Barbedwire | September 15, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

I am always amazed at the willingness of so many to give more power and control to the federal gov't. AmTRAK-bankrupt, Medicare -bankrupt. Medicaid, bankrupt, Social Security-bankrupt, Fannie May and Freddie Mac- bankrupt. The Obama administration totally failed with the stimulus. They said if it is passed unemployment would remain bwloe 8%. Dead wrong. Somehow their figures now can be trusted. Give me a break and get the federal gov't out of everything

Posted by: jlebar | September 15, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

No matter how many concessions the GOP squeezes out of the Democrats, when it comes down to it, no Republican will support the bill. Republicans have too many millionaire health care and insurance companies CEOs to please and too many bill-dollar corporations for which they have to keep the billions rolling in.

The Democrats should ignore the GOP and pass a good bill which provides affordable insurance for all while it holds down the skyrocketing cost of health care and insurance.

Baucus is a wuss. He wants a weak bill.

Posted by: tinyjab40 | September 15, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

"It's time for human decency to prevail."
Sorry, but that stands in direct conflict to the Republican Corporate Credo. MANY more people will need to go bankrupt or lose their coverage before the outcry from The People will be loud enough to force lawmakers to do something about it. That's just the way it is, and you can take THAT to the bank.

Posted by: gotoran | September 15, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Never before has the legislative process gotten to this point. The need for health care reform has reached the point where it will destroy the health care system if action is not taken. The congress realizes this and so does the public. Even those who stand to make the most profit realize this. It's time for human decency to prevail.

Posted by: seemstome | September 15, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

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