Thursday, September 17, 2009

Baucus Plan Gets Strong Support From Health Care Industry, Max Baucus

Remember Max Baucus?

The douche bag who held up the health care debate for the last two months to masturbate to the sound of his own voice craft his own bill that would be loved by Republicans and Democrats alike?

Well he finally released his bill, and the support is pouring in:

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch ripped the latest health reform proposal Wednesday, saying the bill released by Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus "simply leads to more government, more spending and more taxes."

Hatch, a senior Republican member of the Finance Committee, has been one of the most outspoken critics of Democratic reform efforts in recent weeks. At the heart of his argument is a belief that Democrats are making promises they cannot keep.

"If anyone believes that Washington, let me repeat Washington, can do a plan that will cost close to a trillion dollars, cover all Americans, not raise taxes on anyone, not increase the deficit and not reduce benefits or choices for our families and seniors -- then I have a bridge to sell you," Hatch said.

Damn! If only he'd not made a health care bill at all, he could have gotten Hatch's support! What about the so called moderate Republicans that Baucus was targeting for support?
CNN has learned that – barring some unforeseen change — Democratic Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus will unveil a health care proposal Wednesday without the support of the three Republican senators — Charles Grassley, Mike Enzi and Olympia Snowe — he's been negotiating with for months.

Senate Republican sources close to Grassley and Enzi — and in the case of Olympia Snowe, the senator herself — tell CNN they still have concerns that have not been addressed that range from taxpayer funding of abortion, to illegal immigration, to affordability of the health coverage this new law would require.

GOP sources to all these senators emphasize and insist that they aren't walking away yet — they will keep talking, keep negotiating and next week when votes start in the Finance committee they will offer amendments to address their concerns.

But Wednesday, when the Senate Finance Chairman unveils his bill, all indications are he will be doing it without the support of Republicans he has spent hundreds of hours negotiating with.
No republican support. So he made the bill as shitty as possibly to do... what exactly? It sure wasn't to get Democratic support:

Following up on his This Week appearance where he promised to fight on for the public option, Sen. Jay Rockefeller blasted the draft bill produced by Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus: “there is no way in its present form that I vote for it unless it changes in the amendment process by vast amounts.”

He’s not alone. Fellow Finance Committee member Ron Wyden is livid too. Expect a rocky mark-up next week. As one top Democrat told me, the fundamental problem is that Democrats “are being asked to support a bipartisan bill that doesn’t have bipartisan support.” The compromise without the cover.

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, one of the Democrats who sits on the panel, has elaborated on his misgivings with the Baucus plan in an interview with Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus.

Wyden says the legislation would cost lower-income Americans too much and give many people too little choice of insurance plans.

"If the Baucus proposal passes," he said, "They're going to say, 'Huh? Health-care security means I pay a whole lot more than I'm paying today or I get to be exempt from it, or I pay a penalty?' They're not going to say that meets the definition of health-care security.'

So if the Republicans who it was designed for don't support it, and middle of the road Democrats like Rockefeller and Wyden don't like it... just who would support this bill?

Wendell Potter, the former Cigna executive-turned-whistleblower, told a small group of reporters Monday that the Baucus health care plan is an “absolute gift” to the industry.

“The Baucus framework is just an absolute joke,” said Potter, Cigna’s former head of corporate communications who has been speaking out against insurance industry practices. “It is an absolute gift to the industry. And if that is what we see in the legislation, (America’s Health Insurance Plans chief) Karen Ignagni will surely get a huge bonus.”

Potter said the proposal would not provide affordable coverage. It gives the industry too much latitude to charge higher premiums based on age and geographic location, fails to mandate employer coverage, and pushes consumers into plans with limited benefits, Potter said.

Private insurers “want to have ‘benefit design flexibility.’ Those are three very worrisome words,” Potter said at a briefing arranged by the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank. “By being able to have benefit design flexibility, they will be able to design plans that are so limited that more and more people will be in the ranks of the uninsured.”
And why does Max Baucus care so much about pleasing such loathsome individuals?
As his committee has taken center stage in the battle over health-care reform, Chairman Baucus (D-Mont.) has emerged as a leading recipient of Senate campaign contributions from the hospitals, insurers and other medical interest groups hoping to shape the legislation to their advantage. Health-related companies and their employees gave Baucus's political committees nearly $1.5 million in 2007 and 2008, when he began holding hearings and making preparations for this year's reform debate.

The sector gave nearly $170 million to federal lawmakers in 2007 and 2008, with 54 percent going to Democrats, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks money in politics. The shift in parties was even more pronounced during the first three months of this year, when Democrats collected 60 percent of the $5.4 million donated by health-care companies and their employees, the data show.
. . .
But Baucus, a senator from a sparsely populated and conservative Western state who is serving his sixth term, stands out for the rising tide of health-care contributions to his campaign committee, Friends of Max Baucus, and his political-action committee, Glacier PAC. Baucus collected $3 million from the health and insurance sectors from 2003 to 2008, about 20 percent of the total, data show. Less than 10 percent of the money came from Montana.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Max Baucus!

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