Mike Dennison has a fascinating story about what Senator Baucus won’t say about his magical health care reform bill. As far as I can tell, the plan won’t actually do anything that might threaten one nickel of corporate profit. Along the way, it will magically provide benefits, though those details seem awfully lacking.
What won’t Baucus’s proposal do?
- It’s won’t include a public option, opposition to which demonstrates the enormous mental gymnastics required to be a conservative today. Conservatives oppose the public option because a) it will lead to a massive, unwieldy and expensive plan, but b) will drive private insurers out of business because the government will have an unfair competitive advantage. I’m not sure that makes much sense. What does make sense is that the public favors the proposal, which must mean insurance companies don’t.
- It won’t require businesses to provide health insurance, but will offer “incentives.” My guess? Free expired Viagra and Propecia, with the occasional “Attaboy!"
- It won’t tax the wealthiest Americans, but instead will place the expense squarely on the backs of the very people who are struggling to pay their health care costs right now. This is an especially ingenious idea. After years of government tax policy designed to create a class of the super-rich and to neglect working Americans, Baucus’s proposal protects those poor millionaires from class warfare.
It’s apparent that Senator Baucus is much more interested in meeting the needs of those who can afford to make $5,000 campaign contributions than those who cannot afford $5,000 medical procedures and insurance premiums.
Whenever Senator Baucus talks about the important work of his committee, I am reminded of what he said seventeen years ago:
`No more scotch tape and baling wire,” said Senator Max Baucus, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, who spoke at the AAPS regional meeting in Great Falls, Montana, on June 20. “It’s time for fundamental reform, not tinkering.”
Although he does not believe that significant changes will occur in this session of Congress, he thinks they will not be long delayed. . .
Stop tinkering in a back room, Senator Baucus, with people who have no interest reforming health care. They’re killing it, and using you to do it. As Harold Meyerson points out in the Washington Post, it’s a fool’s errand:
Max Baucus, then, isn’t negotiating universal coverage with the party of Everett Dirksen, in which many members supported Medicare. He’s negotiating it with the party of Barry Goldwater, who was dead set against Medicare. It’s a fool’s errand that is creating a plan that’s a marvel of ineffectuality and self-negation — a latter-day Missouri Compromise that reconciles opposites at the cost of good policy.