The Senate Finance Committee, lead by Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), has finally released a draft of it’s health care bill. To be blunt, this bill sucks balls:
Many of the details in the Baucus' bill were already known. Unlike more liberal versions passed by three committees in the House and by the Senate's Health Committee, it shunned liberals' call for the government to sell insurance and relied instead on co-ops to offer coverage in competition with private industry.
Baucus' approach includes a requirement for individuals to buy insurance, with financial penalties for those who don't. Rather than a mandate for larger businesses to provide coverage for employees, they would be required to defray the cost of any government subsidies for which their employees would qualify.
In other words, everybody, you, me, your neighbor, the poor single mother trying to stay in her home, the small business struggling to keep their doors open, is required BY LAW to fund the private health insurance industry.
Thank goodness for citizens like Mr. Wendell Potter. You may remember Potter, the former insurance executive turned insurance whistleblower, from his appearance on Bill Moyers’ program. He appeared before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee yesterday and had some harsh words for the Baucus bill.
…I have also expressed concern that if Congress goes along with the so-called "solutions" the insurance industry says it is bringing to the table and acquiesces to the demands it is making of lawmakers, and if it fails to create a public insurance option to compete with private insurers, the bill it sends to the president might as well be called the Insurance Industry Profit Protection and Enhancement Act.
H.R. 3200, America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009, encompasses a comprehensive set of reforms that address the critical need for expanded coverage, lower health care costs, and greater choice and quality. Other legislative proposals, including the "Baucus Framework" being considered by the Senate Finance Committee's "Bipartisan Six," would benefit health insurance companies far more than average Americans.
Watch the entire statement here:
“The Insurance Industry Profit Protection and Enhancement Act.” Boom! That’s exactly what the Baucus bill is!
Now, I have some faith and optimism that we will get a good health care bill. Between now and the time the House and Senate vote on their preferred bill, there will be a lot of changes and negotiations to the final bill. That said, it’s so obvious that this Finance Committee bill is the bill that has been bought by the health insurance industry, it makes me ill.