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Baucus Remains Hopeful That Republicans Will Like Committee's Health Bill

By Shailagh Murray
Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus announced Monday that he may unveil his long-awaited health-care bill as soon as Tuesday -- and he predicted that Republicans will find plenty to like about it.

The Montana Democrat and his fellow "Gang of Six" Finance Committee negotiators haggled Monday over top Republican concerns, including provisions that would limit medical malpractice cases, bar benefits from reaching illegal immigrants, and block federal funds from subsidizing abortions. The goal from the talks is to win over Sens. Charles E. Grassley (Iowa) and Mike Enzi (Wyo.), two conservatives who have remained at the table all summer despite strong opposition from most of their GOP colleagues.

"Senators on and off the committee, their comfort level is starting to come up a bit," Baucus told reporters during an afternoon break in talks. "I do believe that strongly, and I believe in the end we'll have some significant bipartisan support."

Baucus said the discussions about immigration focused on establishing that individuals living illegally in the United States receive "no benefits" from a new insurance exchange that would serve people who do not have access to affordable employer coverage.

On medical malpractice, the senators appear to be crafting a provision similar to the pilot-project approach that President Obama suggested last week to Congress. "States would be given resources to help them experiment with what works best," Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), another of the negotiators, said Monday.

The group also is attempting to limit the burden to states of expanding Medicaid eligibility to every U.S. citizen with incomes below 133 percent of the federal poverty level. Democratic and Republican governors are strongly opposed to a new, unfunded Medicaid mandate.

Conrad said the federal government would assume "the vast majority of the responsibility for the newly eligibles."

Baucus said the governors would be "pleasantly surprised" at their minimal burden. "The Medicaid costs, through the expansion, are not going to cost states near as much as feared," he said.

Conrad said Finance negotiators are scheduled to brief governors by conference call Tuesday afternoon.

By Shailagh Murray  |  September 14, 2009; 3:54 PM ET
Categories:  Health Reform , Senate  
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Comments

I'll believe it when I see it.

It will be pretty anti-climatic if everyone ends up more or less in agreement.

Posted by: andrew23boyle | September 14, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

The issue is not the few little bones that Mr. Baucus and the Democrats are throwing. The issue is that the US government has no business running any healthcare delivery system.

If the US Senate in 2010 wants to look anything like it does now, Senators should back away. Let the Democrats go it alone if they feel they should, but if you ((D) or (R)) sign your name to this bill, you are committing our country to more taxes than we have now a decreased quality of healthcare in the future.

Posted by: michaelldouglas | September 14, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

michaelldouglas

You mean like Medicare, that program that until a few months ago Republicans called socialized medicine?

Posted by: grclarkdc1 | September 14, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

I have to disagree with michaelldouglas. By that argument, then Medicaid and Medicare should be terminated; and by that same argument, every country which provides its citizens with health insurance is wrong. If we have public institutions and programs, why is health care not an option?

There's a strange fear about even trying this. It's crazy. It's not as though whatever this program is will be the exact same program 20 years from now-- it will change and adapt and adjust through Trial and Error. But we learn NOTHING unless we try.

As a person with fully paid health insurance through my employer, I say it's worth it. Because not everyone has my job luck.

Posted by: vmfn1 | September 14, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

hahahahahahahahaha!

While all the blogs are in full censorship today, here we finally get to the truth...

You betcha the insurance companies will like it. IT WAS ALWAYS GOING TO BE A BAILOUT FOR THEM.

Obama's says (paraphrased)... "The insurance are terrible and need reform... some want single payer and some want other things... but we need to stick with what works... so we will subsidize the insurance companies and ask them to behave... we don't want to change things too much...."

Now you are going to see the truth come out and the insurance companies are already, and have always been, on board. Heck, they financed the whole thing and the people writing it!

Change? Chump change...

Posted by: tropicgirl | September 14, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

"It will be pretty anti-climactic if everyone ends up more or less in agreement."

I think we could all do with an anti-climax right about now! I'm all for "no drama" and actually solving problems. Man, what a coup for the Senate if they pull this off.

Posted by: fairfaxvoter | September 14, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Anything that would satisfy the Republicans is likely to be of benefit to the health and pharma lobbyists. The U.S. in the minds of drafting a bill that will cripple health care reform for generations of come.
On after quality health care becomes privilege reserved for only the upper middle classes and the wealthy will Americans realize what a mistake it was to have the health insurance industry-beholding Baucus lead the charge.
He's much like Lord Cardigan at the Battle of Balaclava.

Posted by: lewfournier1 | September 14, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

"It will be pretty anti-climactic if everyone ends up more or less in agreement."

I think we could all do with an anti-climax right about now! I'm all for "no drama" and actually solving problems. Man, what a coup for the Senate if they pull this off.

---

That would definitely be nice, but I wouldn't hold your breath.

Posted by: andrew23boyle | September 14, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

At the beginning of Medicare in Canada, there was a doctor strike in Saskatchewan. People said it would be the beginning of the end for the world. It has not been. I would also say that it is not without challenges today, and there will be more challenges as the baby boom generation ages and require more medical attention. That said, sticking ones head in the sand and saying that change is not necessary in the US is ridiculous. When bankruptcy is the only option to catastrophic medical conditions, that alone should tell people that change is necessary. Any country should not require its citizen to go to the poor house to recover from illness. I hope that the senators actually do compromise, and reach some solutions for the sake of all Americans. Remember, compromise is not getting everything that you want, it is getting enough of what you believe in to be acceptable, while living with what you don't like. Compromise is not getting your way on every issue.

Posted by: skippertoo | September 14, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Are you kidding yourself????

Not one Republican will actually vote for anything that the AMERICAN public wants and truly needs.

Half the country will be dying and the other half declaring bankrupty and the Republicans will still be calling for THE STATUS QUO and ignoring the needs of the middle class.

They will still be ranting against Medicare all the while allowing the poor and the middle class to die of treatable illness all in the name of COMPASSIONATE CONSERVATISM. They will be collecting their own SOCIALIST MEDICARE and loving it.

I have yet to SEE an ELDERLY person burn that MEDICARE card they rant about as being socialist medicine.

Posted by: kare1 | September 14, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

No matter what compromises Democrats make, no Republicans will vote for health care reform. The Republicans have too many millionaire health care and insurance CEOs to protect and too many billion-dollar corporations to whom they have committed to keep the money rolling in.

Democrats make the best health care reform possible because this is about the ordinary people, not the rich executives and their billion-dollar corporations.

Posted by: tinyjab40 | September 14, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

I think it is sensible for any nation to promote the health of its citizenry. Most businesses regularly calculate losses they incur due to accidents and illnesses and not having access to decent health care in a timely manner does increase the cost of treatment and reduces or limits the benefits of that care.

My preference would naturally fall to having health care in a local system as we do with education. Unfortunately we seem unable to govern ourselves sensibly.

For those citizens who seem to be overly obsessed with the possibility that an undocumented immigrant will get any assistance in health care, I would only say that they do benefit indirectly and often directly from the labor of these people. The clamor against undocumented workers is really ugly.

Posted by: mickle1 | September 14, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Don't trust those leftist skunks, Republicans. They've never been right about anything, let them collapse under their own weight..

Posted by: SMWE357 | September 14, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Who cares if the Repubs like it? They have been pretty clear they don't want anything to do with it, and are being dragged to the table...use reconciliation.

Posted by: davidrand1 | September 14, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

"Conrad said the federal government would assume "the vast majority of the responsibility for the newly eligibles.""

By the Federal Government don't you mean taxpayer?

Posted by: Bubbette1 | September 14, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Baucus is about to find out what getting rolled by republican obstructionists, and lobbyists feels like.

GIVE US THE MARKET COMPETITION THAT IS REQUIRED TO LOWER HEALTH INSURANCE COSTS!

GIVE US THE PUBLIC OPTION!

Posted by: onestring | September 14, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

The issue is not the few little bones that Mr. Baucus and the Democrats are throwing. The issue is that the US government has no business running any healthcare delivery system.

If the US Senate in 2010 wants to look anything like it does now, Senators should back away. Let the Democrats go it alone if they feel they should, but if you ((D) or (R)) sign your name to this bill, you are committing our country to more taxes than we have now a decreased quality of healthcare in the future.

Posted by: michaelldouglas | September 14, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

-----------------------------------------

What about you (or your mom's) MEDICARE?

What about the VETERANS HOSPITALS?

That is Government run healthcare.

M-Kay?

The fact is that private industry seeks profits, not a healthy nation.

We need market competition to change their behavior, and we need to cover EVERYONE if American industry is going to compete in the 21st century.

Try thinking, and reading for yourself, and turn off the AM radio.

Posted by: onestring | September 14, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Republicans have made it very clear that they wish no serious change in the health care system -- certainly no change that would stand a good chance of providing universal coverage and reduce health care costs as share of GNP to levels attained by other industrialized societies whose (non socialistic) systems achieve better results than ours for 40-60% of our costs.
Negotiating with those whose oft-stated goal is to conquer/destroy you is rarely a successful strategy to produce peace (or bipartisanship) in our time.

Posted by: gdb7 | September 14, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

When this is over and the insurance companies and Big Pharma are partying, I'm certain Senator "Blue Mutt" Baucus' dance card will be filled, right along with those of every other democratic and republican congressperson who have screamed about "democratic principles" and a rising deficit while lining their campaign coffers with health industry cash.

But that's the simple version. While the President may have made some tactical errors, the waterboarding and execution of the Public Option shows that our government has been rerarranged structurally so that it no longer functions in the interest of the citizenry.

The Roberts' Court is about to make that official by removing any limits on the contributions corporations can make to campaigns in the Hilary movie case.

The new American political system will be fully and openly "pay to play."

Posted by: rogied25 | September 14, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

This group is doing what they were assembled to do. Iron out differences and present a bill that each side can live with. Nobody is going to get everything that they want, but everyone will get something that they want. Much of which, they share a desire for. On tort reform, I think it is a great idea to leave that to the states to hammer out. Because every state is different in terms to plaintiff/defendant sensitivities. The state can experiment with what works best for them. There is no cookie cutter answer to tort reform.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | September 14, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

There is no shame in implementing one policy at a time, then stepping back and gauging the results. However, there is a great deal of shame in rushing a giant plan down the public's throat.

Let's get on to priority number 1: jobs!

Posted by: primegrop | September 14, 2009 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Plenty for the GOP to like???!!!

You mean, Senator Baucus, that you wrote the bill for the insurance companies? Is that what you're telling us?

We WILL get a public option, Senator. And you will be looking for employment next time you're up for election.

Count on it.

Posted by: trippin | September 14, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

The problem is that the current draconian changes proposed is based on the faulty assumption that we have a "broken healthcare system" that is run by insanely profitable insurance companies and the most corrupt people on the face of the earth -- doctors. And therefore, the bill will either be tossed out of Congress or the people who vote for it will be.

And that's a shame because the Feds could do some real good by using their clout to get insurance companies to be more reasonable. And the "malpractice" thing offered is a joke. The costs finally cited for legal costs are the tip of the iceberg the real costs are in doctors who know that if they don't practice defensive medicine they will not be allowed to practice medicine any more. In money, that's probably more than enough to pay for even the most stupidly run plan.

The one thing I don't understand is that even the proposed changes don't address the fact that the entire burden of paying is going to come from the elderly -- and they are the only ones who for the past 40 years have paid benefits for the medical care they are just now getting. So not only is Congress insisting on stealing the money these people have put away every week, they are doing it to the most consistent voting block in the country. If not because they are ashamed because they are stealing the money, don't they want to stay in Washington?

Posted by: tommariner | September 14, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Hey Baucus...I got news for you. Republicans lost in a LANDSLIDE last November. More news: The majority of Americans support a public option. Even more news: The vast majority of doctors and nurses also support a public option.

If the wingnut crazies (who could only muster 60,000 people in DC on Saturday...less than 1/50th of ONE PERCENT of Americans) cow you into dropping the public option and giving more to the corrupt Insurance Industry who have looted and killed middle-class Americans for decades...then you should just join the incompetent and failed Republican Party in their cesspool.

Go away, Baucus. You're starting to smell like a slimy Republican.

Posted by: wilder5121 | September 14, 2009 6:30 PM | Report abuse

dont you lefties get it? its not what we like that counts, it's what we dont like, which is everything in this bill.
no quid pro quo here this time. no scraps for the gop.
you got the votes, pass it yourselves. the gop is not going to jump over that cliff with you.
a take over is a take over no matter what you call it.
turning the irs into you personal collection agent for what we can only call a tax for being alive will not get it.
setting up 51 regional and supreme czar, and they all have the power to look at social security records, look at every bank account, and electronically withdraw what ever they want - NOT GOING TO PASS.
there are so many things wrong with this bill it stinks.
want a bill that helps - first identify the problem, people uninsured. then let them decide if they want to be insured. the rest get to explain why they have a car, insurance, smoke, drink, have cable tv, go out to the movies, go on vacations, and then complain they cant afford insurance.
that is just for starters.
THIS BILL IN EITHER HOUSE IS DOA!

Posted by: infantry11b4faus | September 14, 2009 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Illegals aren't supposed to get Drivers Licenses, Welfare, Food Stamps, subsidized or free lunches for their children either. Guess what, they get all those things with no proof of citizenship or sometimes legal residency. They just say "no papers" and the government and schools hand it out like trick-or-treat candy.

The only people that can't get benefits are those that earned them or have the right. When I was unemployed, I went to Prince Georges county for benefits and I couldn't get waited on (several hours). When I asked the person at the desk why many people who had come after me got waited on already she had no reply. I then asked if I could talk to a manager to get some answers/help, she refused to speak to me or give me someone's name.

I walked out thinking "a white man in PG county" seeking benefits was a foolish thought.

Posted by: WantUnbiasedNews | September 14, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

WantUnbiasedNews: How do you get around w/that huge chip on your shoulder?

Posted by: BeavisfromMontana | September 14, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse

I am really getting scared. What does Obama think he is doing to this country? Trying to overtake every thing?? I can not see that he has done one right thing. Except taking over.. Power Trip at our expense??? Wake up people, do they think that we arejust going to sit still? We had our march on washington (9-12) and all our tea parties and town halls, but they still think we do not know anything...
cap and tax, healthcare,auto industry, banking industry.. I am not any better off now than I was in Jan when he took his oath. What a joke.. I am ready for a revolution and I think that the state of texas should be first in line to remove themselves from this insanity...
GOD HELP US

Posted by: sheritreat | September 14, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

"Republicans will find plenty to like about it": oh, goody. In other words, nothing for the middle class. Baucus should change his party affiliation and be done with it.

Posted by: raschumacher | September 14, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

I read about the Baucus Plan and couldn't believe what I was seeing. Every American will be required to buy insurance or face a stiff fine? What about the people who are out of work, or the working poor? Do you think that by threatening people with a fine that this is magically going to make the money appear in their bank accounts to pay for insurance? Tax breaks as a balancing incentive to pay for insurance? You've got to be kidding.

What a great idea! Instead of offering health care to those who can't afford it, make them pay a stiff fine BECAUSE they can't afford it. Private insurance in my age bracket costs more than my monthly rent, and I'm just days from being on the street as it is. The only effect this is going to have is that the unemployed, underemployed, self-employed, and working poor who can't even afford to pay their rent, let alone insurance, will be afraid to go to the doctor, because they'll be afraid of being reported to the government.

I can just see it now, more people dying from the flu, infections, and other easily treated illnesses who should be given health care instead of the threat of fines.

The insurance companies must be positively giddy about this bill. All Americans will now be forced to buy their overpriced product. It's a wonder that Republican's aren't falling all over themselves to get it passed. I can also imagine every hospital administrator in the U.S. privately cheering in their offices. "If poor people who don't have insurance are afraid to come to us, that means we'll get our emergency rooms back! They'll be positively vacant." Can we say black market health clinic?

Great going Congress. You must be mighty proud of yourselves!

Posted by: cdanegregory | September 14, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Two points which Republicans may wish to ponder.

We have insurance companies that compete across state lines now. Three of these companies (Aetna, HealthAmerica and United HealthCare) attempted to penetrate the Pittsburgh market. They were unsuccessful because the dominant insurer in the Pittsburgh market, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, has been able to negotiate agreements with the two dominant networks (UPMC Health System and West Penn Allegheny) and has a system of provider discounts which place Highmark in a dominant financial position in the Pittsburgh market. What is the solution to this problem? Should providers be required to insert "most favored nation" provisions in their agreements so that every out-of-state insurance company can have access to providers on the same favorable terms as Highmark? If a federal law requires Pittsburgh health care providers to include most favored nation provisions in their agreements with insurance companies, why is this not a government takeover of health care? The federal government would be dictating the terms of contracts between parties in the private sector.

The second point to note is that there is no federal law of malpractice. Medical malpractice claims are decided under state tort laws. If a federal health reform bill contains provisions governing medical malpractice claims, isn't this trampling on states' rights? After all, medical malpractice has been governed by state law up to this point.

You can't object to President Obama's bill on the grounds that it represents a federal takeover of health care and that it tramples on states' rights and then propose remedies which contain the same issues.

Posted by: pittsburghbarb | September 14, 2009 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Baucus and Conrad, the wh*res of the health insurance racket. So, two corrupt mor*ns from states that do not even represent 2% of the US population are allowed to hijack health care reform for the rest of us?

Time to send those two bozos home. I'm sure they'll find a lucrative job lobbying for the health insurance racket.

Posted by: Gatsby10 | September 14, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

"Every American will be required to buy insurance or face a stiff fine? What about the people who are out of work, or the working poor?"

Sheesh. Simmer down already. There's no way that any bill would survive without an exemption based on hardship or low income.

Posted by: Hillman1 | September 14, 2009 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Baucus has accepted 3.7 million dollars from the health care lobby. That's why he is against a public option. Grassley has taken $2 million. McCain close to $8 million. Kent Conrad has taken money. We won't get good legislation until big money is removed from the equation through true campaign finance reform. Although with the Supreme Court looking like it might strike down some key components to existing legislation on campaign finance, we might wind up with a government that is even more firmly controlled by special interests. Government for the corporation and by the corporation.

Posted by: FriendofJewsandMuslims | September 14, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Barring illegal immigrants from benefiting from a new insurance exchange that would serve people who do not have access to affordable employer coverage sounds penny-wise and a pound foolish. In the future, what will happen to the illegal immigrant that shows up at a hospital with a burst appendix. Who will pay for the emergency surgery? Or is the hospital going to turn them away? It seems to me that the larger the pool of participants the smaller the individual effect on each participant. Thus it is to everyone's advantage to maximize the number of participants.

Posted by: Frazil | September 14, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Everybody keeps saying how great Medicaid and Medicare are. Hasn't anybody figured out yet that Medicaid and Medicare are going broke at high speed, are completely unsustainable, and won't exist in their present form fifteen years from now because we can't possibly afford them?

Adding another huge entitlement is NOT going to solve the problem.

Posted by: Quitaque1 | September 14, 2009 8:05 PM | Report abuse

.
So what if 50,000 America-hating freaks made idiots of themselves in Washington on Saturday?

These people are nothing more than the very same people whose Republican Party drove America into its deepest ditch in 70 years...and are now whining and complaining about the cost of the tow truck.

Laughable racist illiterate buffoons carrying Nazi flags. Just ignore them.
.

Posted by: wilder5121 | September 14, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Well obviously, Repubs will like the bill - for decades they've ALWAYS opposed a Public Option.
And Dems didn't disappoint them - nor the lobbyists that fund their campaigns.

Posted by: angie12106 | September 14, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Frazil wrote: >>>In the future, what will happen to the illegal immigrant that shows up at a hospital with a burst appendix. Who will pay for the emergency surgery?

Taxpayers - and it's no change from the present.
Other industrialized nations offer ER services to foreigners. It's safer and healthier for us vs. their dying in the streets....bugs, maggots, etc.
ewwwww

Posted by: angie12106 | September 14, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

QQ wrote: >>>>Hasn't anybody figured out yet that Medicaid and Medicare are going broke at high speed

That's the point of health insurance reform!
LOTS of waste in Medicaid and Medicare - and especially Medicare Advantage, an Insurance program that taxpayers subsidize $180 BILLION annually for wealthy seniors.

If seniors want more coverage than standard Medicare - they should pay for it themselves!

Posted by: angie12106 | September 14, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Through August, the federal deficit has already hit $1.38 trillion, or TRIPLE last year's all-time record deficit of $454.8 billion. And in September alone, the administration expects another $200 billion in red ink, bringing the total for the year to $1.58 trillion.

Now the A hole in the White House and corrupt democrats want to add another trillion with their health care blivet.
No thanks!

Posted by: LarryG62 | September 14, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Let the free market treat the wounded from Iraq, and if they can't afford the premiums, let 'em die, I say. This is the freedom they fought for. Free market, man.
And that little kid whose father is an illegal who just got hit by the car? Let him bleed to death in the street. I'm not paying for his emergency room.
U=S=A! U=S=A!

Posted by: crestthree | September 14, 2009 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Health benefits paid by employers are simple income and MUST be taxed.

Posted by: hz9604 | September 14, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Stop with the Medicare as "socialized" health care argument. Medicare serves a portion of the population that is for the most part retired and who were promised free health care by primarily Democrats in the 1960s. People who get Medicare planned their finances accordingly over decades based on the promise.

Socialized medicine for working people is an entirely different animal than Medicare. And really an entirely different animal from Medicaid that targets those unable to pay.

Posted by: hz9604 | September 14, 2009 8:50 PM | Report abuse

>>>>Sheesh. Simmer down already. There's no way that any bill would survive without an exemption based on hardship or low income.

Is this the same government that causes many low income families to have to go to food banks and soup kitchens because "make too much" to qualify, but can't afford food? Try applying for government aid sometime, and you'll be surprised how ridiculously low such exemptions levels are set. The bureaucracy involved in qualifying for any type of government aid is daunting, and often humiliating. Think of the years and years of waiting that some SS disability folks go through waiting for approval, only to be denied. This bill isn't helpful; it's only going to make matters worse.

Posted by: cdanegregory | September 14, 2009 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Don't worry about the Debt. The government will treat the Debt the same way it has been treating Inflation the last several decades......It will pretend it does not exist and keep on gettin' it.

Posted by: hz9604 | September 14, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse

The Baucus bill is just one more step on the road to making all Americans completely beholden to corporate interests. Under this bill, employers essentially be incented to drop health insurance as an employee benefit and individuals will be left to fend for themselves against the insurance industry. Nothing about this bill reforms anything except the ease with which insurance companies can determine who gets medical care in the US. Change you can believe in...if you're an insurance company CEO.

Posted by: Bob22003 | September 14, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

I truly hope that the public option is dead, DEAD DEAD!! What I believe Obama means when he says that the country will go bankrupt without a government health plan is that he hopes to prop up failing medicare and medicaid on the backs of younger people who are NOT going to be the major users of the health care system. In the city where I live, the largest provider of health care is taking NO NEW Medicare patients and since I have been very healthy for 15 years and didn't find a new primary care physician when all the doctors I knew were retiring, I arrived at 65 without a primary care doctor and am still without a personal physician. I need to rely on the immediate care portion of the facility if I need it. Fortunately, I am still very healthy at 72 and don't need them!

Frankly, if the President wants to do something for the American public, he might try reining in the out of control tort lawyers and the system they employ (jury selection experts which try to make sure that the most stupid people hear the malpractice cases). Both the medical community and insurance companies are hostage to this system where the awards that juries provide go largely to the lawyers and the "injured parties" get the crumbs and the juries don't care because it's just insurance company money after all!! Really...where do they think that money comes from....part of it comes out of THEIR OWN pockets. See the irony?

We can wish forever that somehow the legal end might be fixed but with a Congress which is full of lawyers and a President who is a lawyer, and lobbyists who are lawyers, there are probably three chances for any change, slim, fat and NONE.

Posted by: OregonStorm | September 14, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

My guess is that Baucus could offer exactly what republicons say they want and they would still call it socialism. Anyway - 2/3 of the nation elected Democrats for congress, and a big majority elected President Obama. If we wanted what republicons want then we would have elected republicons again. republicons held all three branches for 6 years, two for the other 2, and now they only hold the SCOTUS... We don't want what republicons want, we want what is good for America. republcions could have made some feble attempt at health care reform in all that time, but they were too busy posing as Washington outsiders, and ranting and raving about abortion gays and flag burning to do anything of any importance to anyone. that is except gut regulation, cut taxes on the hyper rich, dig the country into a massive hole and make a general mess out of anything and everything they touched. Don;t care if repubs are on board. Better that they are not so that when we have real reform they cannot try to lay claim to any part of it, just like they cannot lay claim when the economy picks up. None of their doing. they are great at making messes, not cleaning them up.

Posted by: John1263 | September 14, 2009 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Concerning the illegal immigrants can anyone tell me with a straight face that in short order the 11 million or so immigrants will be made legal by the democrats within a year?

Posted by: jamespmarion | September 14, 2009 9:20 PM | Report abuse

The reps cant and shouldent be trusted with the healthcare deal as they sat around for years doing nothing except collecting their huge paydays and useing healthcare provided to them by tax payers.I think its just pitiful the dems give them room to be a big part of this deal when they had their chance all those years.Everything they touch turns to dust anyways how can they be trusted to get this right.

Posted by: smorrow | September 14, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Obama's plan is a right-wing entitlement reform: cut Medicare benefits, make the poor and middle class uninsured pay for insurance to cut emergency room expenditures, impoe no significant taxes, and give big subsidies to a health industry whose profit margins are already 2-3 times that of the average S & P company. Conservatives should love it--certainly more than Bush's real prescription drug reform--but it strikes me as preferable to vote against it--at least the non-insurance part--and get the benefits of the bill and make the Democrats pay the political costs.

Posted by: jhough1 | September 14, 2009 9:32 PM | Report abuse

I suspect these changes will only get a few moderate Repubs -- just enough to stop a filibuster. Which is fine. The vast majority of the do-nothing Republicans will never sign on to anything that might be seen as an accomplishment for Pres Obama.

Posted by: Honest_Abe | September 14, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

75% of doctor's want the public option. Are we finally going to let doctor's run health care or are we going to continue to let insurance clerks decide our care?

Passing the public option will take a high degree of courage we are not likely to witness. Passing the public option will require some Senators and Representatives to place country first.

Posted by: Maddogg | September 14, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

When an illegal alien goes to the ER for treatment it is $5,000, which is passed on to the public. Including them in health care with a public option will cut that cost down to $50.00 for a doctor office visit.

Besides, incluidng illegals in health care reform will make Ronnie Raygun proud.

Posted by: Maddogg | September 14, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

I can't wait till tomorrow, release it already. This is what we've all been waiting for! LOL

Posted by: yarbrougharts | September 14, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Baucus is a Republican plant........

An Independent

Posted by: aeaustin | September 14, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

How dumb are these Democrats?!!?!?

The GOP ain't gonna support ANYTHING Obama does. He could give another trillion dollar tax cut to the wealthiest 2% and invade Iran, and the still would not support him.

The Democrats need to go it alone. They have nearly a two thirds majority in the house and senate - what the F%#$%#$ are they waiting for?

Posted by: kurthunt | September 14, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

If the GOP likes it, I'm sure I won't.

Posted by: rusty3 | September 14, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

The gang of six is there to kill reform, not to help it. But until I see their so-called plan I'm not getting worked up...yet.

Let's sleep on it, People. Emotions are running high. Let's see what the plan looks like tomorrow. I hope enough details are covered, and not just idiological slogans that would deepen our society's divide.

Thus far we have been played like pawns, both left and right wingers. But I'll save my fighting energy till the picture is clear.

Posted by: Single_Payer | September 14, 2009 11:00 PM | Report abuse

One thing we out here in Montana have learned over the years is that Max Baucus loves to grandstand. For years he has claimed credit for all sorts of things in Washington that he had nothing whatsoever to do with. He's now teaching our junior senator, Jon Tester, how to do the same thing. They both recently claimed credit for a multi-million dollar border crossing station in a remote town on the Canadian border that averages three, that's right, three individuals crossing per day. The Secretary of Homeland Security subsequently pointed out that they had nothing whatever to do with the decision to spend the money there. Nevertheless, Baucus and Tester gained points because although Montanans love to bemoan budget deficits, they always have their hands out for the latest wasteful dole from Washington.

Baucus has been grandstanding all along on health reform. We also know that he is firmly in the pockets of the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries. Hence, he opposes any public option which is the essence of any serious health care reform effort. When he brags that Republicans will like his bill, we know that he has betrayed virtually all of us, excepting only his very rich friends. His actions are shameful.

Posted by: dsrobins | September 14, 2009 11:04 PM | 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.

SEMPER FI!

Posted by: NAVDOC3rdMAR | September 15, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

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