1. He short-changed many Democratic Party ideas in order to craft a “bipartisan” bill that, so far, no Republican has said he or she would vote for.
2. There’s no public option, but Americans will be mandated to purchase insurance in what amounts to a boondoggle from Baucus to the insurance industry.
3. The House bill with a public option gets a similar debt-reduction score from the CBO, and it’s widely believed that a mandate will only work if there is a public option to bring costs in line.
4. Baucus’s bill has insurance cooperatives, of which the CBO says, compared to a government-run plan to provide competition to private insurers, would ‘seem unlikely to establish a significant market presence in many areas of the country’.
5. The co-ops would lack the negotiating power of a federal government-run plan.
6. Large businesses couldn’t enroll in the co-ops, thus limiting the size of these state-by-state co-op pools, thus keeping prices up.
7. Subsidies to assist with mandated coverage are not large enough to help families avoid financial ruin in the face of medical crises. Again, in order to carve off billions from what would still be a deficit-neutral bill, one of the key goals of reform is short-changed.
8. The plan taxes businesses for each hiree who qualifies for subsidies. This incentivizes businesses to not hire the poor.
9. The plan will cost $880 billion over 10 years. The Health Committee’s plan under the late Sen. Kennedy and Sen. Harkin has a public option and comes in at just $611 billion. The public option makes reform cheaper!
10. And on a personal note… It does not include an extension of transplant drug coverage. So people will continue to stop taking their anti-rejections drugs and wind up back on dialysis, awaiting a new transplant. Extremely stupid, both fiscally and morally.
Yes, I’ve gleaned some of these ideas from my usual sources.
Overall, I’m annoyed that the media is reporting this Baucus Plan as if it is The Democrats’ Plan. No, it’s this insurance-industry-shill’s plan. A lot of Dems think it is crap.
And, yes, I know that’s a picture of Jim Backus and not Max Baucus. They don’t even have a common surname. But the plan seems to me like something Thurston Howell III would get behind, and I think of Max Baucus as somewhat of a sitcom character.