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A Good Bill That Can Pass

September 16, 2009

During a press conference today, Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus (D-MT), who released his health care reform bill this morning, said,

“This is a good bill. This is a balanced bill. This can pass the Senate.”

The tragedy of the entire process led by Sen. Baucus, and his gang of six is the reality that what we got in his proposal today, was what we should have expected. Baucus’ headlong dive toward a “bipartisan” bill…a bill that could “pass” the Senate was an exercise in futility. As fellow member of the Senate Finance Committee Jay Rockefeller said, as reported by the Politico:

“I’m not very happy about that obviously,” Rockefeller said of the process. “I think it was predictable that the bipartisan thing was not going to work. And we spent virtually an entire year with most of the Finance Committee being excluded, and a lot of us have a long history in health care and have very strong ideas and good ideas. … His [bill] was changed last night and I haven’t yet seen it this morning.

“You don’t run a committee that way,” Rockefeller continued. “That’s just process talk, the American people don’t care [about process], but they should because it means they are not getting as good a bill unless we could amend it properly.”

The Baucus process has burned bridges in the Finance Committee and has garnered for its overtures not one iota of GOP support. But worst of all, the bill is a grab bag of giveaways to the Health Insurance special interests. Look at some of the provisions offered:

  • Employer Contributions Through Salary Reduction. In a time where working people have received next to no pay increases, Baucus’ plan makes the decision that we would be better served by adding further deductions to our pay for the same level of health care. How can this not be a new tax on the middle class;
  • Interstate Sale of Insurance. We’ll have to wait until 2015 to be able to purchase insurance over state lines in the form of “Health Care Choice Compacts”. Another delay tactic;
  • National Plans. In lieu of a public option, Sen. Baucus hands us state level  licenses. Another way of stemming the move toward a alternative to the private insurance monopolies. Baucus knows that any “national plan” that does not have the Federal moniker on it will not have the leverage to force the bad players in insurance to return to a level playing field.

We need to send a strong message to compromised leaders like Sen. Baucus by flooding his and any other of our elected officials phone lines with our rebuke.

We want real reform, not lobby led concessions.

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