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  • 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.

    Federal taxpayers will have to pick up almost all of the cost of an expansion of Medicaid, although states will also face additional costs and yet not be granted the necessary flexibility to reform Medicaid.

    A “pay-or-play” mandate on most employers will hit the incomes and jobs of low-income workers. And a mandate on individuals to purchase insurance, combined with the taxes and new rules, will push up the cost of coverage. Despite limited new subsidies for individuals, many low-income and middle-income Americans will have to pay more for coverage or break the law. This would break the President’s pledge to reduce insurance costs for families.

    This is not the way to achieve bipartisan reform. The president needs instead to lead by meeting with key leaders of both parties and seek bipartisan reform around two key themes. Congress must remove legislative obstacles to states so that they can make reforms to health insurance rules and Medicaid to increase coverage. And it must reform the tax treatment of health care in order to provide tax assistance for Americans who have no tax relief for the coverage they want.

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    21 Responses to Flawed Baucus Bill is Not the Roadmap

    1. Papa Swamp, FL says:

      Don't forget the taxes (fees) on Medical Devices, brand name drugs and Testing Clinics…how raising the cost of these things is supposed to bring down the cost of them is beyond me.

    2. TImothy R. Fortner, says:

      Unfortunately, the only thing that is transparent in the "health care reform" debate is that it has little or nothing to do with healthcare. I don't believe those pushing to move 1/6th of the American economy into the hands of Washington give a whit about whether you or I have healthcare of not. Its about the money. Graphs show that the Feds take historically = 18% of the GDP. Healthcare equaling another sixth of the GDP is virtually another 16.5%. How easily can the Fed essentially double its' income with a single swoop of the pen. After seeing what was hidden in the $787B "stimulus" (8600 earmarks), is it any wonder the Administration and Congressional liberals pushed as hard as they did to ram it thru Congress before the August break? I can't wait to see what it hiding in the final drafts of the "healthcare reform" or "cap and tax" bills.

    3. Pingback: » Financial News Update – 09/16/09 NoisyRoom.net: Where liberty dwells, there is my country…

    4. Pingback: Baucus Reax: Tepid at Best – Blog Watch

    5. M Stone - Denver, CO says:

      Reading between the lines on Democrat responses to this plan is interesting. It seems that the good Senator has finally surrendered to the notion that a takeover of the insurance industry will achieve positive results. And the lefties are none too happy.

      It will be very interesting to see how this plays out over the weekend. Baucus really dug a deep hole for Democrats though. From surrender on the public option to stealing attention from the President, it will be very interesting to see what they do now that their unity has been fractured. ( for more on why the Baucus proposal hurts Democrats, you can view: http://www.conservativeblog.thewebinfocenter.com/… )

      In all, the Unions and the rest of the leftist world aren't going to let their one chance for health care takeover to go down like this.

    6. john livingston Boi says:

      For patients this is a terrible bill. For physicians it is terrible. For hospitals—they stand to see revenues increase.

      For the Federal Government it is a source of new revenues. For the states the mandates will bankrupt medicaid. I guess what we are seeing is a group of very incompetent, less than truthful politicians and buracrats trying to fix a very complex problem that they have very little knowledge about. The very fact that this was presented to the American People in such a disorganized fashion tells you of the motives of the people pushing the legislation. Economics is the study ofthe allocation of scarce resources that have alternative uses. Until the American People are willing to make those choices the cost of health care will continue to rise no matter what the private or public sectors signal to the populace.

    7. Grace, Florida says:

      I scanned a bit of this bill yesterday. While easier to understand than HR 3200 it's still allot of the same things. It is loaded with government regulations, imposed penalties, and it looks like the average guy will take a good hit when it comes to tax deferred earnings. Not a good bill. Why can't Congress take small steps on healthcare reform? Obama admitted that there is fraud and waste in Medicare and Medicade – can't they start there and move forward? To me that's the logical step. Why not fix the part that's broken, then look at more reform if needed. It has nothing to do with people it's all politics.

    8. Lwesson, Tejas says:

      It is interesting that this circus act about "health reform" goes on and on without so much as a scant look to see if said circus has even so much a permit to perform. Meaning, does this "reform" take precedent OVER the United States Constitution? Seems that it does and if that is the case can I suggest that this is a tyranny that the Founders so much feared that Republics seem to revert to?

      The simple requirement that you MUST have insurance or you will be fined is strikingly bizarre yet I do not hear outrage over this.

      Baucus also seems to not get the issue of illegal aliens. No hospital or doctor will likely be compelled to EVER demand your PAPERS for identification as to your status as a citizen. Yet this is likely a non issue as Obama's next target is to legalize the criminal aliens and thus the magic act of "making" more, lots more, US citizens.

      Reform ideas. 1. Shut down the lawyers like Al Edwards who profiteer on "malpractice".

      2. End the ridiculous notion that if your illegal alien parents drop a baby on US soil then the magic of being a US citizen happens. This amendment was to insure that former slaves citizenship status was protected. We are still paying for that war. Stop it!

      3. Make being an illegal alien a condition that involves imprisonment and deportation and the hiring of said person, imprisonment and heavy fines. Secure the border.

      4. Provide national access to the public of the ratings of doctors and hospitals… .

      5. End the reward system for doctors who prescribe a multitude of medical tests and procedures. Without Al Edwards lawyers chasing the system, doctors will be less fearful too, thus less tests… .

      6. Insure that fraud to milk Medicare… is policed and those caught heavily punished.

      Just a few ideas, but I think the issue of "health care reform" is bigger than just "reform" as it is much more about a fundamental STATE takeover. Transforming the citizen from the ultimate sovereign of determination of said citizen's form of government to, a SUBJECT beholden to the STATE for the citizens mere existence and various "rights".

      See again this "REQUIREMENT" that you must have insurance.

      Shut down this "circus"!

      Regards!—-LW

    9. ccd2, PA says:

      The healthcare bill is NOT about healthcare. It is about money and power for the Federal government, hospitals, BIG Pharma, and insurance companies. The deals have been struck. The kind of healthcare will follow all these deals, taxes, and power exchanges. There will be no covenants between doctors and patients.

    10. Lloyd Scallan - New says:

      To say that Max Baucus "engaged in a good-faith" is absolutely absurd. Baucus is yet another surrogote danced, out by Obama, to deflect any blame to himself, so his hands will be kept clean. But let it pass, Obama will be the first to take credit for it all. Baucus is a DEMOCRAT!

      Does anyone expect any other result but the rearrangment of the deck chairs on the Titanic as long as the Obama remains in the White House.

    11. Dennis A. Social Cir says:

      I do believe this plan also calls for a cap on medical spending per person per year. THIS IS RATIONING AT ITS BEST. All the town hall meetings resulted in was a change in the language of the bill, the one payer system is still alive and well, as is rationing for not just the elderly, but for all with a major illiness. We can now see that the obama game is to force higher taxes and controll of the health care industry on America. The Republicans need to step up to the plate and do what is needed to stop this mess before it is to late for all. We also need to remember this BS in 2010 and go to the poles like never before, these socialist have to be voted out to save this country and a way of life that we all know and love. Thise that do not like this country or the will of the people need to remember taht planes leave each day, get on one and go to another place today.

    12. Jerry from Chicago says:

      The Democrats are on to something. They are going to destroy our health care system in order to save it. I remember a similar comment made during the Vietnam war, something about having to destroy a village in order to save it.

      That kind of thing won't work with health care for the same reason it didn't work in Vietnam, just ask the villagers of the destroyed villages how they felt about being "saved".

    13. Paul,Bigfork, Mt says:

      As a Montana resident, I amd ashamed to call Max Baucus my senator. The bill he proposes is a joke in that it very similar to all of the other so-called "bipartisan" healthcare bills. We will pay in rationed care, fewer doctors, taxpayer funded abortions and care for illegal aliens!! And our medical costs will still go up. We need more competition across state lines, people with pre-existing conditions covered and better investigat-ion into Medicare and Medicaid fraud. Simple tax credits to those who can't afford to pay for basic medical coverage would be way cheaper than this monstrosity of a healthcare overhaul proposed by Obama and the Democrats. Check out the Republican proposals. They do offer some commonn sense ideas and they ARE NOT being even slightly considered by the Dems. We need to clean house in 2010 and 2012 of the those in Congress and the White House who choose not to listen to WE THE PEOPLE!!! THEY WORK FOR US!!!!!!

    14. Lynn B. DeSpain says:

      It holds true, there is no one size fits all, and you cannot please everyone! Do not trust people who try to do either of these things.

      Hozro

    15. Lynn B. DeSpain says:

      Whaat DC does not seem able to grasp is that America does not want the Government to control the Insurance industry, but rather America wants DC to do its job and assure 'Free Commerse among the States" and allow the more than 2,400 Medical Insurance carriers to compete in each State! As it is most States have the competition of between 12 and 24 Insurance Companies, which is no competition at all, and certainly not an Open and Free Market System.

      Hozro

    16. Julian Lemaster, Bil says:

      None of the 4-H1N1 vaccines being considered have been field tested. In some previous epidemics, more harm was wrought by the shot than the particular strain of flu that was prevalent.

    17. Marshall,Michigan says:

      If the Politicians decide to FIX what is Broken,we

      will be on a track to recovery! What a Surprise!

    18. duelles, santa fe says:

      THe talk of bi-partisan reform is nice. We seem to have a "poly-partisan" country with many advocates for many points of view.

      Perhaps a pan partisan reform would be effective in coming up with 100- 800 types of insurance and health careso we get what the congress really wants. What the congress has voted for in the past. The federal program they voted for themselves.

      Barring that, they will fail to please the public. So bar that and please the public with the elimination of inpediments to private enterprise running wild with sucess.

    19. Kathy, Great Falls, says:

      In response to Dennis A. Social Circle Ga. regarding medical spending caps and rationing of care … the cap is on the individual's out of pocket spending, NOT on the amount of benefits that can be received. This bill actually removes any cap on the benefits that insurance companies will have to pay.

      This bill does allow insurance companies to offer coverage across state lines without having to comply with other state mandates. This will have a detrimental effect in Montana. People tend to purchase insurance according to price alone and they do not fully understand the ramifications of not having state oversight of benefits nor the limitations that out of state insurers will have with providing a good network of providers. As you shrink the market share of local insurers you increase the risk that providers will not be compelled to contract with any insurer because no individual insurer will be able to "steer" enough patients overall. Without contract providers the insureds will be subject to balance billing – that amount which is not allowed by insurance companies but billed by the provider. Currently contracted providers have to accept the amount allowed by the insurer as a condition of the contract. Network adequacy does not take into account ancillary services such as anaesthesia, radiology, emergency room doctors, etc. so it is quite possible to receive services at an in network hospital, receive services by non-network providers and be subject to thousands of dollars in balance billing. I believe that balance billing is a major factor in medical bankruptcies for people who had major medical health insurance. There is no regulation now nor proposed that deals with the issue of balance billing.

    20. Pingback: The Baucus Bill: A Closer Look at the CBO Report | Fix Health Care Policy

    21. Pingback: The Baucus Bill: A Closer Look at the CBO Report | Conservative Principles Now

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