Baucus/Wellpoint Bill Fails; Health Insurer Stocks Rally 3% in Response
It was only a matter of time till Baucus heeded the deadlines that President Obama and Majority Leader Harry Reed set out, and dumped his bill into the Finance Committee. In an 18 page press release (didn’t anybody ever teach these guys PR 101), Max outlined the framework of his bill. You also can read the Chairman’s Mark, if you are so inclined to sift through the 223 page Mark.
I’ve often said that Max Baucus positions himself in the middle of a legislative battle in such a way that he gauges the success of his compromising by the degree to which he offends the most people on both sides of his position. To that end, I’d say that Max must be celebrating a huge victory tonight, as it seems that he has not been able to garner any positive political support from either democrats or republicans.
But I think that a good place to begin the debate over Baucus’ efforts comes from HCAN, Health Care for America Now!, a “a national grassroots campaign of more than 1,000 organizations in 46 states representing 30 million people dedicated to winning quality, affordable health care.”
What did HCAN! have to say about Baucus’ bill today?
“The Baucus bill is a gift to the insurance industry that fails to meet the most basic promise of health care reform: a guarantee that Americans will have good health care that they can afford. The Baucus bill would give a government-subsidized monopoly to the private insurance industry to sell their most profitable plans – high-deductible insurance – without having to face competition from a public health insurer.
Under the Baucus bill, employers would have no responsibility to help pay for their workers’ coverage and would be given incentives to have workers pay more for barebones insurance. Americans who don’t get health benefits through work would still not be able to get good, affordable coverage.
We urge Senators on the Finance Committee to replace the Baucus plan with legislation that will do what the Senate HELP Committee and three House committees have done: guarantee that Americans have good health insurance that they can afford with the choice of a strong national public health insurance option.”
So now that Max has failed at appeasing the GOP in an attempt to secure at least one vote (after he had crowed about getting 75-80 senators to sign on to his efforts), it appears that his bill will have to undergo a severe transplant in order to make it out of the Senate Finance Committee, and for the Senate to move forward.
Quid pro quo at its worst.