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KQµårk 死神 On September - 16 - 2009

Max Baucus

Senator Baucus (D-MT) finally unleashed his bill which is mostly a giveaway to the healthcare industry.  Re-releasing this post to remind everyone what’s in the bill.

  1. The plan has no Public Option with possible co-ops or triggers in it’s place.  The bad fact is this is not the worst part of the “gang of six” plan.
  2. Instead of direct subsidies like the other legislation passed in Congress Baucus’ plan has tax credits and ungenerous tax credits to help families pay premiums.  Instead of families up to $88,000 in income paying 10% maximum on healthcare premiums in the other bills in congress, Baucus would have families pay 13%.  Meanwhile people who get their income through unemployment insurance or disability would not even get a subsidy under Baucus’ plan.
  3. Buying healthcare insurance would be mandatory.  For universal healthcare you need some mandates but the fines Baucus is discussing are three fold larger (up to $3,800/year) than in other bills where fines are more or less an incentive to buy insurance.
  4. Instead of taxing the rich the “gang of six” wants to tax and fine healthcare insurers and providers.  Sure some of the revenue should come from those sources but other plans rightly tax the rich.
  5. 60 year olds would be charged 5 times more than 20 year olds.  While you would not let a population that is inherently younger and healthier  pay more than an older population that statistically has more health problems that factor is ridiculous.
  6. Baucus even water down the concept of an “insurance exchange”.  Instead of people automatically paying group rates only some uninsured people will get to pay similar rates to group rates.  The whole individual and small business premium rate cartel is one of the huge injustices in our system.

So far who have spoken have panned the bill.  Senator Rockefeller (D-WV) who is on the Finance Committee has already said he would not vote for the bill in it’s present form.

“I have sat besides Max Baucus for 22 years on the Finance Committee. …I’m probably one of his best friend among Democrats. But I cannot agree with him on this bill. … There is no way in present form I will vote for it. Therefore, I will not vote for it unless it changes during the amendment process by vast amounts.”

Read more at “Fines proposed for going without health insurance”.

Read the summary of the Baucus bill here “Framework for Comprehensive Healthcare Reform”.

Written by KQµårk 死神

My PlanetPOV contact is [email protected] Proud Dem whose favorite hobby is cat herding. The GOP is not a political party, it's a personality disorder. Cancer, Heart Failure and Bush Survivor.

15 Responses so far.

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  1. nellie says:

    At this point, the bill just needs to get out of committee, for crying out loud. It seems clear now that the HELP bill will be the blueprint for the Senate Bill. They just need Baucus to get off the dime. Enough stalling already — because that’s all this is.

    • KQuark says:

      The more I read about the bill the less I like it especially comparing to the other bills that came out of committee. For example the HELP bill shares the cost of premiums much more fairly regarding age. Older people will pay 5 times more than young people in the Baucus bill but only 2 times more in the HELP committee bill. The whole idea of having universal healthcare is sharing the risk and leveraging people less likely to get sick to defray costs for everyone. I’m just worried the bill is SOOOOOO bad now it never gets out of committee and forever holds up reform. Like I said before this is starting to look more and more like an all our nothing showdown because the corporate Dems are not only writing a bill for insurance companies but trying to write it on the cheap to make it devastating for the middle class.

  2. AdLib says:

    This bill is DOA anyway. The Repubs aren’t on board even though it reflects what they want. Dems don’t like it…except the ones paid off by the industry…aka…Blue Dogs.

    Who’s going to touch this drowned rat of a bill when there are four others that have a public plan and are far more mainstream Dem bills.

    This was another waste of time Pres. Obama allowed to occur because of his admirable but unrealistic priority of bipartisanship and not having a bill presented to Congress at the start which clearly reflected what he wanted.

    That said, with it now 100% clear the Repubs won’t be on board no matter how much they corrupt the bill, I think Pres. Obama will get behind the Dems passing the public plan through budget reconciliation and we can finally get health care reformed in this country…and move on to other pressing issues.

    • KQuark says:

      It looks like the Baucus bill might not even get out of his committee. I don’t know what the ultimate ramifications of that means but the HELP bill looks to be the bill most Senate Dems agree upon.

      The bottom line dynamics have not changed in quite a while now. It’s a fight between Democrats that what real healthcare reform and the corporatist Democrats while Republicans are just trying to block any reform. I think the Baucus bill has made faux corporatist Democrat reform so unpalatable that is becoming a battle of real reform versus no bill. Baucus was counting on cover from the white house but he’s not going to get it.

      BTW the first petition to kill Baucus’ bill.


  3. KQuark says:

    Again the MSM is playing games implying Baucus’ plan is some kind of centrist option when 75% of the people support a public plan it’s not a “liberal” option.

    “U.S. Senator Max Baucus unveiled a long-awaited healthcare overhaul on Wednesday that would dramatically revamp insurance rules but does not include a government-run option backed by liberal Democrats.”


  4. Kalima says:

    Why were they elected to such a huge task is something I ask myself evert day and who elected this group in the first place?

    Your touchy/feely President needs to step back and above his advisors to remember his own mother’s lack of HC, which ultimately led to her early death. Please continue to email your own stories about yourself or people that you know to the WH. KQ, once was not enough it seems, repeat it and any other story you see on the net, surely there is someone with a heart before it reaches the President, surely?

  5. nellie says:

    We have so many different polls and no idea what the questions are — how they’re worded. The latest poll from Rasmussen, I believe, shows 77% of respondents in favor of a public option. So I don’t know.

    All I know is that the Baucus bill seems to be designed to sabotage Madicare. By putting low-income people on Medicare, it is adding a group of people with more health issues, and not spreading the risk by adding people who are healthier. Again, the insurance companies get to cherry pick the most healthy people, and Medicare is left to support the population with the most health issues — without any cost controls.

    The Baucus bill is a non starter. But I hope they get it out of committee as soon as they can, so the Senate can vote it down.

    • KQuark says:

      I think you may mean Medicaid but you bring up a great point. Though all the bills in congress do expand the group of people who qualify for Medicaid that’s a good thing if costs are lowered and subsidies are generous.

      I agree the bill is a non-starter from being even the initial bill congress passes. The only positive thing it does show is what the GOP calls reform which is a bunch of bullocks, excuse my British accent.

      • nellie says:

        I stand corrected, KQuark. I thought I had read that the bill expands Medicare, but I see it’s Medicaid. I think I’m left with the same concerns, though, since this bill seems to do nothing to get costs under control. That is the attraction of a public option done correctly.

        • Questinia says:

          You’re even more correct with Medicaid, nellie, Medicaid is on the state level and takes care of the really ill and poor already.

        • KQuark says:

          I thought I knew what you meant and your point is valid. I often make the mistake of lumping the two together or wrongly interchanging the two as well.

  6. KQuark says:

    I know the part progressives don’t want to talk about are the people fighting reform. A new Gallup survey still says a slight plurality are against healthcare reform.


    More depressing is the opponents to reform are more steadfast than proponents of reform.

    From Daily KOS

    “Bottom Line

    A month of town-hall meetings across the country during Congress’ August recess has hardly budged Americans’ views about passing a healthcare reform bill, or helped many more Americans form an opinion. The public is as divided over healthcare reform today as at the beginning of August (37% in favor and 39% opposed), with a large segment still undecided.

    Although the two sides on healthcare reform are about evenly matched numerically, opponents may have a political edge. The 82% of reform opponents saying the issue will be a major factor in their vote for Congress next year eclipses the 62% of reform advocates who say the same. “

    I know much of the trepidation about big changes is part of human nature but we still need to understand the nature of the electorate.

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