Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

President Baucus Prevails

The man who received 345,937 votes (and $11.6 million of health lobbyist donations), has overruled Barack Obama, the choice of 69,498,215 Americans, who presented his proposals to a joint session of Congress last week.

President Baucus' plan, which omits a public insurance option and other key elements favored by the occupant of the White House as well as other Congressional committees, is seen as holding together "the fragile coalition of major industry leaders and interest groups central to refashioning the nation's $2.5 trillion health-care system."

According to the Washington Post, evidence that Baucus will control the final bill is "the calm emanating from organizations that have criticized House health-care bills and a version approved by the Senate health committee" and that drugmakers and hospitals "had little to say" about the plan he announced yesterday.

Their silence may be traced to the fact that their money has already done the talking with nearly $170 million in contributions to federal lawmakers in the past two years.

Even so, the Wall Street Journ complains that the Baucus plan "remains a public option by other means, imposing vast new national insurance regulation, huge new subsidies to pay for the higher insurance costs this regulation will require and all financed by new taxes and penalties on businesses, individuals and health-care providers."

We have reached the point in the debate where the fine print in the reform proposals is no easier to read and understand than the vaunted insurance contracts for consumers that Republicans are fighting so hard to protect.

"Given reservations expressed Wednesday by members of both parties," the New York Times reports, "the Baucus bill is likely to be modified as it lurches through the committee to the Senate floor and then, presumably, on to negotiations with the House."

In the end, we are not likely to get what opponents deride as Obamacare but some bastardized version of Baucuscare, which will be much worse.

3 comments:

jf said...

This is going to be a long process over many years, involving many adjustments and ammendments. The estimated costs over ten years are very rough, almost useless arithmetic.

I don't like BaucusCare, either, but it's a start.

This president seems to be reluctant to "jolt the system" to the extent of risking serious economic disruptions.

He's a centrist, which is a change from the last 8 years.

Fuzzy Slippers said...

No worries, that thing isn't getting off the ground. It's the first bipartisan agreement in this whole mess: both sides hate BaucusCare as much as they (in very partisan form) hate Obamacare.

Holte Ender said...

If I believe what I am reading in the news blogs (which I shouldn't), not many people like it.

Amendments could change the whole look of the bill. It couldn't look much worse, it would have to get better.