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Ear to the Ground

Baucus Bill Lands With a Whimper

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Posted on Sep 16, 2009

Sen. Max Baucus’ (left) eagerness to please his Republican colleagues bogged down health care reform in the Senate for months. Republicans involved in negotiations, including Chuck Grassley (right), still won’t support the bill.

Sen. Max Baucus bent over backward to please Republicans with his insurance-friendly vision of health care reform, which forces everyone to buy private insurance and has no public option, but the very Republicans he negotiated with now won’t have anything to do with the bill.

They’re not alone. The Atlantic runs through a list of the major players and finds that “the Gang of Six appears to have dwindled to a Wolfpack of One.”

Baucus’ bill is more of a negotiating position than the final word. Whatever legislation emerges will be an amalgam of the various proposals in the House and Senate. We can only hope that it is not a Frankenstein monster of compromise—a Baucus bill on a grander scale.  —PS

Links: The New York Times breaks down the Baucus bill / The Atlantic sums up the discontent / Read the Chairman’s Mark

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By Squeeky, September 17, 2009 at 3:05 pm Link to this comment

Get this one!

The city of Libby in the great state of Montana, of which Senator Baucus is supposed to represent has been declared a disaster area by the EPA since 2000 (check the date to be sure).

Apparantly a mining company has been mining vermiculite, of which asbestos is a byproduct, for decades. Despite significant numbers of asbestos related health problems, to include mesothelioma, I haven’t seen this issue on the news.

I wonder who is flipping the medical bills for this screw up? I’m sure Sen. Baucus’s health plan won’t cover these innocent souls who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

If this is’nt hypocracy in action then I don’t know what is.

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By dihey, September 17, 2009 at 11:20 am Link to this comment

The Baucus abomination has been known for one day. President Obama has not yet stated that he will not sign this bill if it lands on his desk.
Yes, yes, I know: there is a lot of shaving to be done still. Yet he would defuse a lot of anger that is brewing ,especially among the older set and the middle class, by making such a statement now.

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By felicity, September 17, 2009 at 10:35 am Link to this comment

Capitalist economies are based on the profit motive and the accumulation of capital without end. For the last five years the health insurance consortia have seen their profits grow by 428%.

To fault them for playing by the rules as defined by capitalism is an exercise in futility. We’ve bought the economic system which means that we’ve also bought the bases of the system.  Until we change the system, we’re doomed to suffer its vicissitudes.

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By seektruth, September 17, 2009 at 9:35 am Link to this comment

The Baucus Bill is the logical outcome of a mathematical equation:

Insurance company interests + Pharmaceutical company interests + Republicans’ determination to deny Obama a health care victory + Obama’s naive belief that bipartisanship is possible + Baucus’s naive belief that bipartisanship is possible =

It’s really just simple math.

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By NYCartist, September 17, 2009 at 8:51 am Link to this comment

AP headline listed on Yahoo says it all,
(paraphrase)“new plan favorite of industry”

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By Random Items, September 17, 2009 at 8:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

More like flatulence than a whimper.
He has managed to take Care out of the plan.
What is left is a health plan in which insurance
companies make even more money while people are
compelled to pay more for less.
This is as disrespectful of the people as Wilson’s
outburst was of the president.

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By altara, September 17, 2009 at 8:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


Finally, the blue ribbon panel of six “wise men” from the Senate Finance Committee has issued its health care reform plan. The elephant has labored mightily and brought forth a mouse. In addition to being a gift to insurance and drug companies, its vaunted goal of bipartisanship has failed to be realized. Practically no one supports this plan.

Rumor has it that this plan could have been released in June. Endless hours of meetings, conference calls, and negotiations produced few changes since then. Meanwhile, the resulting legislative standstill gave Republicans time to organize those loud, crazy performances in town hall meetings that have damaged reform prospects.

Way to go! It was a bad idea to leave so much for Congress to work out and even worse to pursue bipartisanship through this odd committee.


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By Hulk2008, September 17, 2009 at 7:19 am Link to this comment

Let’s see .... Sen Baucus has been “negotiating” for months and months and yesterday declared he had spent nearly 100 hours on his version of the bill.  (100 hours is a mere 2 1/2 work weeks for the rest of us schlubs.)  I sure hope he didn’t break a sweat or strain his voice too badly.  The press and every member of Congress has been literally telegraphing the tepid outcome of his committee.  NOBODY should be surprised or underwhelmed. 
    There is a slight glimmer of hope coming from statements by Sen Weiden that we must all regard the current situation as a very early first step to the actual amendment process.  The good Senator has promised to make meaningful changes to what has been proposed - for example, he promises to get interstate insurance markets to allow true national competition (even if a “public” option is not present); he promises to get useful and realistic malpractice protections for providers; and he promises to get actual bipartisan backing.  Fortunately, there have been a FEW Republican senators who have pointed to the Weiden remarks as useful. 
    But….. follow the money is still the best advice.

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By Bud, September 17, 2009 at 5:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Max BaucASS,a little known senator from a state with a very small population calling the shots for three hundred million Americans.Folks,this is democracy at its worst.The people of Montana should be ashamed for electing this putz.Max BaucASS motto should be “hooray hooray,I’m foreman at last,the working man can kiss my ass”.

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By ChaoticGood, September 16, 2009 at 11:43 pm Link to this comment

From Caberet…Lets all sing together now…a 1 and a 2 and a 3…

Money makes the world go round, the world go round, the world go round know the rest.

If you are confused about anything happening in Government, just sing this song and everything will be all better.

Baucus comes from a small state and nobody ever heard of him before this.  He is savoring the attention and hopes to stay in the limelight for as long as he can. 

Max was never interested in healthcare, it was always about him.  He has now paid for a lucrative seat on some health insurance board of directors when his time in congress is done.

Congrats, Max.. you have learned to sing the song and dance the dance.  You can now sit at the “Big Table”.

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By dihey, September 16, 2009 at 6:53 pm Link to this comment

Let’s see if President Obama has the guts to say publicly that he will not sign this bill if it gets to his desk. I seem to remember that President Bush did that at least once but please correct me if I am wrong.

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By knute, September 16, 2009 at 5:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Everything I’ve read says this bill from the senator from Montana makes the drug and insurance industry happy. In other words the pots been made even bigger to theirs and the republican parties delite. But it isn’t just the republicans is it. How many more examples does a half asleep people need to see before we wake up to realize that neither the Democrats or the Republicans are very concerned about helping the middle class. We already have a treasury dept. busy making the banking industry and Wall St. very, very happy….Any similarities popping up yet ? They call it Class Warfare, and were seeing it replace a democracy with each day passing.

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By Rodger Lemonde, September 16, 2009 at 5:13 pm Link to this comment

Tar and feathers time. Can you say betrayal?
Casino Care Plus. The house wins and the client never

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By P. T., September 16, 2009 at 3:40 pm Link to this comment

The Republicans are not as stupid as Baucus.  The GOP knows how people are going to react to being forced to buy overpriced, private health insurance that they cannot afford.

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By Hank from Nebraska, September 16, 2009 at 1:26 pm Link to this comment

Oh please, Baucus never intended to produce a bill that would fly.  He has been amply paid to kill any real healthcare reform.  What a charade we are seeing in Washington, and what a foolish post this is.  I am used to better quality from Truthdig.

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By bane-richter, September 16, 2009 at 12:57 pm Link to this comment

What the hell is this bs? The only people this criminal has bent over is the Insurance companies. This is such a stupid little ... oh never mind, go to #$#% Truthdig.

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