Far better sources have already written about the incredibly weak and cynical proposal that Senator Baucus is floating on healthcare (on the slowest news day imaginable), and my position about the Senator has been clear for quite some time.
What I haven’t written about, though, is Senator Tester, largely because he has been either very quiet or very non-specific about healthcare reform. Looking back on his campaign web page, I am reminded that Senator Tester took a strong stand about the corporate interests who are blocking reform. His issues page notes:
In the U.S. Senate, Jon Tester will stand up to big insurance companies and support a health care plan that makes health care affordable for all Montanans.
While that’s just rhetoric, it’s a promise to fight for something more than Senator Baucus’s proposal, which can best be described as making health care “marginally more affordable for some Montanans and less affordable for others, all at the discretion of your friends in the insurance industry, pending more input from Doctors Grassley and Enzi.”
I’ve been impressed with Senator Tester’s work in Washington. I trust the man, and I admire him. It’s certainly got to be a challenge to be the junior senator under someone with the amount of clout Senator Baucus wields, but Tester has been independent and right more often than not.
It’s time, though, for Senator Tester to demand more from Senator Baucus and the Senate Democrats. It’s time for a definite commitment for a strong public option, for meaningful reform that will bring us closer to affordable care for all Americans.