Friday, September 18, 2009

Baucus’ Bogus Bill Faces Stiff Opposition

We can be certain that the Baucus Bill will not pass in it’s current form.  Neither side likes it.  Here are some of the reactions.

BaucusBill His fellow Democrats shuddered and Republicans sneered when Sen. Max Baucus unveiled legislation to remake the health care system. Now, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee gamely insists that it can pass the Senate, core provisions intact.

That's precisely what many Democrats are hoping to avoid, and not even an attempt to choreograph a display of unity after a closed-door meeting on Thursday could obscure it.

Inside, according to numerous officials, Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio rejected Baucus' proposal for non-profit cooperatives to compete with private industry in selling insurance. He urged a liberal-backed alternative in which the government would offer competition.

Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York spoke in less than favorable terms about another of Baucus' key ideas, a tax on high-cost insurance policies.

Concerns were voiced, too, that the federal subsidies are too skimpy to do much good for hard-pressed, middle-income families who would be under a requirement to purchase insurance. That was a point raised earlier in the week by Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, a member of the committee Baucus chairs.

"You look at the bill and the text of the legislation legally bars more than 200 million people from having any choice at all, let alone what (health insurance) members of Congress get," he said.

Inside the meeting, the majority leader, Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, refrained.

But that wasn't the case on Wednesday, when he learned that his home state would be disadvantaged under a provision in Baucus' bill relating to Medicaid, the state-federal health care program for the poor.

An unhappy majority leader, who faces re-election next year, quickly issued a statement saying he had a commitment from Baucus that the bill would be changed quickly. "Let me be very clear, I will not bring a health insurance reform bill to the Senate floor that is not good for Nevada," he said.

The Baucus plan "needs more than just a few tweaks," said Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington, a member of the Finance Committee.

Then there is Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, second in seniority behind Baucus on the panel. He pre-empted his chairman's announcement by a day, telling reporters, "The way it is now there is no way I can vote for the package."

A political moderate by instinct, Baucus made concession after concession in bipartisan talks that stretched on for months...

Inserted from <AP/Google>

Harry Reid was certainly fast enough to move when his reelection was at risk.  Is it OK to screw other states as long as yours is not among them, Harry? As Senate Majority Leader, shouldn’t he be representing all Democrats with equal vigor?  Even after ‘Baucus made concession after concession’ to the GOP, there is still NO GOP support for his bill.  They never intended to support it.  As Snake-in-the Grassley publicly stated, his only intent was to save America from Obamacare by delaying the bill long enough for the special interests to fund and organize their grass roots protests.  And during that delay, he and the other Republicans (and DINO Dems) are responsible for this.

Medical Money Nearly 45,000 people die in the United States each year -- one every 12 minutes -- in large part because they lack health insurance and can not get good care, Harvard Medical School researchers found in an analysis released on Thursday.

"We're losing more Americans every day because of inaction ... than drunk driving and homicide combined," Dr. David Himmelstein, a co-author of the study and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard, said in an interview with Reuters.

Overall, researchers said American adults age 64 and younger who lack health insurance have a 40 percent higher risk of death than those who have coverage… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Reuters>

This is a brand new study that shows the effects are much worse than the 18,000 deaths statistic we had been using.  The Baucus bill leaves millions uncovered.  As strong an argument this makes for the public option, here’s one that’s even stronger.

insurance greed The South Carolina Supreme Court has ordered an insurance company to pay $10 million for wrongly revoking the insurance policy of a 17-year-old college student after he tested positive for HIV. The court called the 2002 decision by the insurance company "reprehensible."

That appears to be the most an insurance company has ever been ordered to pay in a case involving the practice known as rescission, in which insurance companies retroactively cancel coverage for policyholders based on alleged misstatements - sometimes right after diagnoses of life-threatening diseases.

The ruling emerges from a conservative Southern state with one of the most pro-business climates in the country. And it comes as progressive Democrats on Capitol Hill are pressing for health care reforms, such as a public insurance option, that reflect wariness about the private insurance industry's motives.

The Supreme Court on Monday upheld a lower court's verdict against Fortis Insurance, now known as Assurant. The trial jury had awarded the former college student, Jerome Mitchell, $15 million in punitive damages; the Supreme Court reduced that amount by $5 million.

Mitchell learned that he had HIV when, while heading to college, he donated blood. Fortis then rescinded his coverage, citing what turned out to be an erroneous note from a nurse in his medical records that indicated that he might have been diagnosed prior to his obtaining his insurance policy.

Before the cancellation of the policy, an underwriter working for Fortis wrote to a committee considering whether or not to rescind his policy: "Technically, we do not have the results of the HIV tests. This is the only entry in the medical records regarding HIV status. Is it sufficient?" The underwriter's concerns were ignored and the rescission went forward...

Inserted from <The Huffington Post>

Believe this.  Whatever health bill passes, before the ink of Obama’s signature dries, thousands of insurance company lawyers will be poring over the bill to find loopholes they can use to get out of covering preexisting conditions and allow rescission of the policies of their clients who fall ill.  They will find them.  Americans deserve an opportunity to choose to escape from the snare of corporate insurance greed.


Brother Tim said...

I can see the writing on the wall, and have become jaded on the Health Care issue. They may (or may not) throw us a bone, but it will have no meat on it. All I can say to my government is: Prove me wrong and surprise me.

Annette said...

I am still very much believing we will get something good.. it may not be all we want but it will be something good that we can build on. We have to remember Social Security was passed in that way, Medicare was passed that way.. Everyone keeps saying they want Pres. Obama to be like FDR and LBJ, I think that is exactly what he is doing, except he is using us to do it. We need to contact our Congress people, We need to stay after them to write a bill and pass a bill with a strong public option.. They are the ones who are writing the legislation not the President.

You are correct in your statement the lawyers will be pouring over it.. There is not a doubt in my mind about that.. I am sure they are already doing it.

benjibopper said...

you're back! so good to see. and look at all this output. i'll have to take some time to go thru it. good to have you back.

Stimpson said...

That last paragraph sums up precisely why a good public option must be part of health-care reform in the United States. Anyone trusting the insurance companies to behave well is a darn fool.

TomCat said...

Brother, as much as I fear you are right, I hope you are wrong.

Annette, thank you for that. I call them so much that several of their Aides recognize the sound of my voice.

Benji, it's great to see yolu again, and I'm bappy to be back. You're on the blog roll.

Thanks Stimson. My point, exactly.

Middle Ditch said...

You could have knocked me over with a feather! You are back!!

Not too long ago I was going to ask Jim (who kept things going nicely and is now a good friend on facebook too) how things were with TomCat, but then I realized that Jim probably would not know who I was talking about and decided against it. A premonition?

Great to see you Tom, I have missed you.

Sue said...

me and Annette, the total optomists!! I know in my heart Obama will not let us down, I can hear it in his voice whenever he speaks! This bogus bill from baucus was written by insurance lobbyists. I really love listening to Howard Dean too, he gives me hope!

Randal Graves said...

C'mon. Self-regulation works just fine. I mean, I had no problem stopping after my third bag of chips during football. ;-)

Dave Dubya said...

As former CYGNA executive Wendell Potter called the Baucus bill the "Insurance Industry Profit Protection and Enhancement Act", we will see this as the point from which "compromise" is made.

I promise this: Insurance company interests will be coddled in the final bill. It's the American Way.

Jolly Roger said...

Max certainly whored his tail off for his owners (who appears to have written most of "his" bill.) The hell with Baucus; we know we can get to 50 for a public option. Let them eat sh*t for all I care.

TomCat said...

Thank you, Monique. It's great to see you too. Jim and I kept in touch by phone, so he would have known. I missed you too.

Sue, I heard Dean give a beautiful rant the other day. When Obama mentioned the Baucus bill when speaking to a group of university students yesterday, they booed. He seemed a little taken aback, but I think it dawned on him that we the people expect more. I support Obama fully, but I also think we need to hold his feet to the fire by continually reminding him that we expect him to keep the promises he made and nothing less.

Randal, self regulation rarely works in a brothel. Ask most Republicans in Congress. ;-)

Dave, I do hope you are mistaken here.

JR, you're absolutely right. With all the effort Obama and the Democrats have made to include Republicans, including far too many concessions, how much GOP support does the bill have? Zero! Zip!! Zilch!!! It's time to demonstrate that refusing an olive branch has consequences, kick them to the curb, and pass real reform without those concessions.

Brother Tim said...

I think Obama and the Dems should tell the Repugs, "You're absolutely right, we should start over from scratch", and then ram through 'Single-payer'.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

I say junk the entire system. Dr. (Ezekial) Emanuel's Guaranteed Healthcare Access Plan is the only proposal out there (including single payer) that 1) effectively reduces cost 2) facilitates coordinated care (single payer maintains the existing fragmented, fee-for-service delivery system) and 3) provides a fair mechanism for dispute resolution. Dr. Emamuel's entire plan can be accessed through his book, "Healthcare Guaranteed". I highly recommend it.

the walking man said...

What will happen is that it will be less expensive to pay the fine for not having health care than it will to actually afford an insurance policy.

Has anyone, ANYONE, heard president Obama say he will categorically veto a bill without a public option? I haven't.

Money talks, bullshit walks, as usual.

So Asurant was fined $10,000,000 so what. that doesn't even come close to their executive compensation package.

TomCat said...

Brother, as much as I'd love to see it, it won't fly. Too much fear from decades of industry propaganda. If we can get single payer, folks will realize that it's an optional single payer plan, get used to it and lose theur fear.

Welcome, Will. It's not a bad idea. The health boards in that plan could be manipulated to ration health care, so protections would have to be included to prevent that. But here's the problem. Thw idea of single-payer freaks people out and it's a known entity compared to Emanuel's plan, which is so esoteric that getting it through would not be remotelty possible without years of public education.

Mark, Obama has said he will consider other options IF they can accomplish the same thing.