Montana Dems Confront Max; Baucus says: “I Want a Public Option too!”

by JC

After last week’s tepid performance by Montana Senator Max Baucus during and after President Obama’s town hall in Belgrade, it seems that Montana Democrats have had it with his waffling ways.

According to Montana Maven:

It has been one week since 8 Montana Democratic Central Committees delivered their resolutions for single payer or a strong public option in a health care bill to President Obama and Senator Baucus at the Belgrade Town Hall Meeting in Montana on August 14…

Many chairs of the committees, like myself, had been frustrated much like our founding brothers because “our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury and neglect”. Yes we had all received the same form letter from the Baucus office even when we asked very specific questions. So we began to look for other ways to get Max’s attention. The letters to the President did the trick.

Seems like going to the top got Baucus’ attention, and he convened a conference call, wherein he got an earful:

…three days after the town meeting, the Chairs of the Central Committees were asked to a conference call with Senator Baucus. No one could remember anything like this every happening before.

The meeting was pretty raucous. Max came on to urge party unity, but county chairs, like myself, demanded substance for our support.

Time and time again we reminded the Senator that basically “when in the course of human events it becomes necessary for people to reform health care bonds,” principle and people must take precedence over process and politics. While Max emphasized Medicare costs or doctors’ costs that must be reined in, most chairs pointed to insurance company overhead as the culprit. While Max emphasized the needed 60 votes that had to include Republicans, we asked him to abandon that idea.

So it seems that some of Montana’s finest Dems have finally figured out that they’ve been getting played by max, and decided to get tough with him, and formed the “Alliance of Montana County Democratic Central Committees.” They put together a “Unified Statement… on Health Care Reform:”

We the Coalition of the United Montana Democratic Central Committees have established a position in support of a strong public option as part of any health care reform. The broader goal of a strong public option is to provide a high-quality, affordable insurance option to all Americans, and provide a means of cost containment. Although many central committees initially preferred a single payer plan, we all concluded that a strong public option was a feasible compromise that could meet these goals and provide Americans with a choice. In order to achieve these goals, a strong public option must contain the following core concepts:

• National Coverage
• Available to all Americans
• Portability, which includes maintaining coverage even if one loses his or her job
• No exclusions for preexisting conditions, denial of coverage if one gets ill, or develops catastrophic costs
• Publicly run and administered with full transparency and accountability to congress
• Emphasis on prevention, and primary care, and a reduction in administrative costs
• No triggers

By unifying our position, and our voices we hope to let the public, the media, and our representatives know where we solidly stand on this critical issue. We would like to encourage Senator Tester, and Representative Rehberg to support a strong public option, and private insurance reform, and to assure them that our Coalition is firmly behind them.

It seems that the tactic has gotten Baucus’ attention. In a press release the Coalition put out today, Max was quoted as saying last week: “I want a public option too!”

U.S. Senator Max Baucus has finally broken his silence regarding his personal position on including a public option in health care reform legislation. Last Monday night (8/17), in an unprecedented conference call to Montana Democratic central committee chairs, the powerful leader of the Senate Finance Committee told his strongest supporters that he supported a public option. While discussing the obstacles to getting a public option through the Senate, he assured his forty listeners, “I want a public option too!”

Great work, Montana Maven!


  1. Steve W

    This is good progress. I only wish that a few of the demands constituting a “strong Public Option” included the right to reimburse at Medicare rates and the right to bargain for drug prices.

    Here is a very good historical overview of the Public Option as originally proposed and the sad state that the public option has seemed to fall into since it’s been slashed, smashed and downsized by the US congress.

  2. jacksmith

    NO CO-OP’S! A Little History Lesson

    Young People. America needs your help.

    More than two thirds of the American people want a single payer health care system. And if they cant have a single payer system 77% of all Americans want a strong government-run public option on day one (86% of democrats, 75% of independents, and 72% republicans). Basically everyone.

    Our last great economic catastrophe was called the Great Depression. Then as now it was caused by a reckless, and corrupt Republican administration and republican congress. FDR a Democrat, was then elected to save the nation and the American people from the unbridled GREED and profiteering, of the unregulated predatory self-interest of the banking industry and Wallstreet. Just like now.

    FDR proposed a Government-run health insurance plan to go with Social Security. To assure all Americans high quality, easily accessible, affordable, National Healthcare security. Regardless of where you lived, worked, or your ability to pay. But the AMA riled against it. Using all manor of scare tactics, like Calling it SOCIALIZED MEDICINE!! :-0

    So FDR established thousands of co-op’s around the country in rural America. And all of them failed. The biggest of these co-op organizations would become the grandfather of the predatory monster that all of you know today as the DISGRACEFUL GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT health insurance industry. And the DISGRACEFUL GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT healthcare industry.

    This former co-op would grow so powerful that it would corrupt every aspect of healthcare delivery in America. Even corrupting the Government of the United States.

    This former co-op’s name is BLUE CROSS/BLUE SHIELD.

    Do you see now why even the suggestion of co-op’s is ridiculous. It makes me so ANGRY! Co-op’s are not a substitute for a government-run public option.

    They are trying to pull the wool over our eye’s again. Senators, if you don’t have the votes now, GET THEM! Or turn them over to us. WE WILL! DEAL WITH THEM. Why do you think we gave your party Control of the House, Control of the Senate, Control of the Whitehouse. The only option on the table that has any chance of fixing our healthcare crisis is a STRONG GOVERNMENT-RUN PUBLIC OPTION.

    An insurance mandate and subsidies without a strong government-run public option choice available on day one, would be worse than the healthcare catastrophe we have now. The insurance, and healthcare industry have been very successful at exploiting the good hearts of the American people. But Congress and the president must not let that happen this time. House Progressives and members of the Tri-caucus must continue to hold firm on their demand for a strong Government-run public option.

    A healthcare reform bill with mandates and subsidies but without a STRONG government-run public option choice on day one, would be much worse than NO healthcare reform at all. So you must be strong and KILL IT! if you have too. And let the chips fall where they may. You can do insurance reform without mandates, subsidies, or taxpayer expense.

    Actually, no tax payer funds should be use to subsidize any private for profit insurance plans. So, NO TAX PAYER SUBSIDIZES TO PRIVATE FOR PROFIT PLANS. Tax payer funds should only be used to subsidize the public plans. Healthcare reform should be 100% for the American people. Not another taxpayer bailout of the private for profit insurance industry, disguised as healthcare reform for the people.

    God Bless You

    Jacksmith — Working Class

    Twitter search #welovetheNHS #NHS Check it out


    Senator Bernie Sanders on healthcare (


  1. 1 Sanator Baucus Sees the Light? |

    […] here to read all about the conference […]

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