The LuLac Edition #944, Sept. 17th, 2009
PHOTO INDEX: OUR "GET READY FOR BAUCUS HEALTH CARE REFORM" LOGO.
"BEND OVER" BAUCUS
For a guy who has been toiling over the Health Care bill for months now, Senator Max Baucus pretty much accomplished one thing: he pleased no one with the release of his bill. Baucus' plan would require insurance companies to sell coverage to all seeking it, without exclusions for pre-existing medical conditions or prohibitively expensive premiums. The legislation would create so-called insurance exchanges in the states where companies could sell policies that meet criteria set by the government, with federal subsidies available for lower-income individuals and families who would otherwise be unable to afford coverage. Any policy offered for sale in the exchanges would have to cover preventive and primary care as well as dental, prescription drug, mental health and vision services. In general, consumer copays on preventive coverage would be banned. Some of that is a good thing but the co-ops he's talking about would impose fines on people for not taking the insurance. It would further expand the pool of members for health insurance companies but nothing was said about curbing any costs regarding what they could charge. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who has long been involved in health care issues, said the proposal doesn't go far enough to control costs or guarantee a greater choice among health plans for consumers. In the House, Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York, who favors a government-run program, said, "I think I speak for many members of Congress in saying that the Senate proposal simply will not pass muster in the House of Representatives and fails on very basic levels to satisfy the objectives of the president and the citizens of the United States of America."
As far as the GOP goes, if Baucus had any illusions about getting support he was totally taken in by his oppoonents. Senator Charles Grassley said he's against it and Senator Olympia Snowe says she still isn't sure. Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia said “there is no way in its present form that I vote for it unless it changes in the amendment process by vast amounts.”
When this bill is ready for mark up, look for the fireworks! The bottom line is that the Democrats have been bending over backwards to compromise on this bill to placate the Republicans. And they have not gotten any support. So in effect they compromised for nothing. They have a bi partisan bill......without the bipartisan support. I mean...why bother. There is no political cover here so why not do what the President promised instead of doing this through half measures. While insurance companies do many good things in health care like pay claims, this bill if passed the way it is written now instititionalizes all the shortcomings between the Insurance industry and their customers. Here's a former executive from Cigna with his thoughts:
Maybe Senator Baucus should take a listen to this song and the words in it.