Posted by: reddiva | September 29, 2009

SCENE TWO: BAUCUS TAKEOVER


This headline and trailer appeared on the FOX News web site:

“Senate Finance Committee Votes Against Government-Run Health Insurance Plan

The two votes marked a victory for Montana Democrat Max Baucus, the Senate Finance Committee chairman, who is hoping to push his middle-of-the-road measure through the panel by week’s end. It also kept alive the possibility that at least one Republican may yet swing behind the overhaul, a key goal of both Baucus and the White House.”

This is one of those “good news – bad news” items we see so many times these days.  Naturally, it is good news that the public option is off the table at least for now.  I’m confident they’ll slip it back in on us somewhere in some almost unrelated bill.

It is bad news in that it keeps feet under Senator Baucus’ own plan to rule our health care system with penalties and no tort reform.  Doctors will be hit very hard by this Baucus plan which can only have limited results:  either doctors will leave their private practices or they will have to raise their prices to pay their own penalties issued by this so-called “improvement to American’s health care system.”  I would hardly call this “middle-of-the-road.”

Senator Baucus even voted to remove the offending “public option.”  In his words, he voted to remove it because “My job is to put together a bill that gets to 60 votes” in the full Senate, he said.  “No one shows me how to get to 60 votes with a public option.”

We can thank Senator John Ensign (R-NV) at least in part for this victory for Americans.  He was finally successful in getting an admission from Joint Committee on Taxation Chief of Staff Tom Barthold that “Violators could be charged with a misdemeanor and could face up to a year in jail or a $25,000 penalty.”

One of the two plans voted off the table today was proposed by Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) which would have set limits on the amounts paid to doctors, hospitals and other medical providers.  The other was the proposal of Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) which would have offered negotiated payment rates.  Either way, the patient is put at risk of not being able to secure the proper care from the primary care physician because of costs.

Another form of the “public option” is the cooperative program which would be Government funded and Government supported.  Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) is a strong proponent of these cooperatives.  According to a Baucus aide, Tyler Matsdorf, the Baucus plan calls for non-profit cooperatives to compete with the private insurance industry.  Matsdorf says these cooperatives work independently from a Government issued public option.  My apologies to Mr. Matsdorf, but I think he’s wrong.  If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, chances are, it’s a duck!

The FOX News article included this sentence:  “It also kept alive the possibility that at least one Republican may yet swing behind the overhaul, a key goal of both Baucus and the White House.”  Are they referring to the official Republican spokesperson for the Democratic Party, Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME)?  She has a proposal of her own in the works which she views as a compromise.

She thinks the public option should be used as a threat against private insurance providers who fail to keep premiums in check after they have been given a period of time to adjust their rates.  A threat, Senator Snowe, in any form is a threat whether it is made to an American corporation or to an individual American citizen.  You need to rethink this proposal.

It appears that at least some members of the Senate and even in the House of Representatives are beginning to hear the voices of the American people.  Do not stop speaking out now.  Keep the pressure on them.  We all recognize the need for some reform in our health care system, but from a Conservative viewpoint, threats and Government takeovers are simply not the way to go about accomplishing reform that is beneficial to the American people.

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