In a Big Labor Day "F*ck You" to Working People, Sen. Max Baucus Continues to Ruin Healthcare Reform
The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Democrat Max Baucus, is circulating what he calls a bipartisan proposal for healthcare reform. The proposal contains neither a public option (not even "triggers,") nor a government-run insurance plan to compete with private insurers. Baucus refuses to support the public option even though a majority of constituents from his state of Montana say they approve of the public option idea, while a majority disapprove of Baucus' actions on health care reform, and a majority of Americans support the choice of a public option.
Additionally, Republicans like Charles Grassley are unlikely to support even this woefully watered down proposal. If Republicans are refusing to vote no on reform regardless of what the final healthcare bill contains (Republican Senator Jim Inhofe says he is going to vote no without reading or knowing what the bill includes,) why does Baucus continue to compromise reform into total meaninglessness? The Republicans insist on throwing chronic tantrums and have made it clear they're not interested in compromise, so one can only conclude Baucus is tossing out the public option -- triggers and all -- because of demands from the private healthcare industry with perhaps some other Centrist Democrats serving as proxies for private industry wish lists.
Baucus's plan will cost between $850 billion and $900 billion, which he plans to pay for by taxing insurance companies on their most expensive policies. "The hope is that employers would buy cheaper, less generous coverage for employees, thereby reducing the overuse of medical services," according to the New York Times. This means employers will provide less healthcare coverage for their employees, who will then have to pay for their healthcare out-of-pocket, which effectively passes the cost for Baucus's plan to hardworking men and women.