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Baucus releases health care reform bill

A compromise health care reform proposal by Montana Sen. Max Baucus is drawing criticism from some Democrats and Republicans. Kentucky Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell calls it "a partisan proposal." New York Rep. Anthony Weiner, a Democrat, says the Baucus plan "fails on very basic levels."

A compromise health care reform proposal by Montana Sen. Max Baucus is drawing criticism from some Democrats and Republicans.  Kentucky Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell calls it "a partisan proposal."  New York Rep. Anthony Weiner, a Democrat, says the Baucus plan "fails on very basic levels."

Here is Senator McConnell’s entire statement: 

“This partisan proposal cuts Medicare by nearly a half-trillion dollars, and puts massive new tax burdens on families and small businesses, to create yet another thousand-page, trillion-dollar government program. Only in Washington would anyone think that makes sense, especially in this economy.”

Here are more articles on the subject:

Max Baucus releases health care bill 

Introducing a health care reform bill without the bipartisan support he had sought, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus on Wednesday defended a series of concessions to Republicans in the $856 billion plan that have drawn sharp criticism from Democrats.

The bill forces insurance companies to change the way they do business, such as prohibiting them from dropping or denying coverage based on preexisting conditions. To force competition with private insurers, the Montana Democrat chose creating nonprofit consumer-owned cooperatives over the public insurance option, which most Democrats prefer.  

Read more on Politico

 

Flawed Baucus bill is not the roadmap

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) has been engaged in a good-faith effort to build potentially broad bipartisan support for health care reform.  If carried out on a far wider scale with members of both parties, in both houses, and with the good-faith involvement of the President, such a process could lead to the kind of bipartisan health reforms Americans would believe in. To do that, the President needs to hit the “reset” button and bring together a wide set of members with a fresh roadmap – and the Baucus bill is not that roadmap. Many of its key provisions are badly flawed. Some examples are:

While it drops explicit endorsement of a public option, the legislation creates a CO-OP which is literally an acronym for a new federal program – not the empowerment of existing co-ops – and it is in reality a thinly disguised public option.

It applies a 35 percent excise tax on higher-cost plans, together with a new sales tax on pharmaceutical, health insurers, clinical laboratories and medical device manufacturers. These taxes will be passed through to patients. While self-insured health plans, typically offered by employers and including most union-negotiated plans, will not face the insurer tax, they will still be subject to the higher-cost plan tax.

Read more on Heritage

 

Jay Rockefeller rips Max Baucus bill

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) continued his attack on Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus’ (D-Mont.) health care bill, sharply questioning the chairman’s decision to conduct months of bipartisan talks that failed to win a single Republican backer, while shutting out Democrats on the committee.

Hours after Baucus released his sweeping health care plan, Rockefeller said he could not vote for the bill as it stands – and questioned why Baucus allowed the so-called “Gang of Six” talks between three Republicans and three Democrats to progress for months.

“I’m not very happy about that obviously,” Rockefeller said of the process. “I think it was predictable that the bipartisan thing was not going to work. And we spent virtually an entire year with most of the Finance Committee being excluded, and a lot of us have a long history in health care and have very strong ideas and good ideas. … His [bill] was changed last night and I haven’t yet seen it this morning.

Read more on Politico

 

House Dem factions entrench further with centrist-friendly Baucus bill 

House Democrats on Wednesday greeted the long-awaited Senate Finance healthcare reform bill with praise, acceptance, hesitation and a slamming door.
Liberals said the legislation crafted by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) would not pass the House, while centrists praised it for not adding to the budget deficit.
House leaders, not wanting to slam legislation that President Barack Obama has hinted he’d like to see move forward, landed somewhere in the middle.

Read more on the Hill

 

White House thinks Baucus bill will change 

Despite months of anticipation, the White House on Wednesday stopped well short of endorsing Sen. Max Baucus's (D-Mont.) healthcare bill.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the release of Baucus's Senate Finance Committee healthcare legislation — the last of five committees to unveil a proposal — moved the legislative process along, but President Barack Obama still thinks the bill will change.
Gibbs said that while much of Baucus's bill, which has been assailed by Democrats and Republicans, does track with Obama's overall goals for reform, he doesn't "think this is a mirror of what the president has talked about."

Read more on the Hill
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Let me know what you think about the new health care proposal.  I’ll share you opinions here on the blog.

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Neil Middleton
WYMT Mountain News
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