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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Democratic sellouts help Republicans keep public option out of BaucusCare bill

Swell. Max Baucus just sold out on the compromise:
After a half-day of animated debate, the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday rejected efforts by liberal Democrats to add a government-run health insurance plan to major health care legislation, dealing the first official setback to an idea that many Democrats, including President Obama, say they support.

All of the other versions of the health care legislation advancing in Congress — a bill approved by the Senate health committee and a trio of bills in the House — include some version of the government-run plan, or public option.

But the Finance Committee chairman, Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana, long ago removed it from his proposal because of stiff opposition from Republicans who call the public plan a step toward “socialized medicine.”
So as expected, the Senate Finance Committee's bill, which has become fondly known around the Internets as BaucusCare, will move out of committee without a public option attached to it. Just the way Max wanted it.

There's no better feeling than doing just what the likes of Cigna and BlueShield want in the name of bipartisanship, eh, Senator?

In case you're wondering which Democrats are the sellouts and which Democrats are the true fighters who are actually working for what is best for the American people, here's a simple list that separates the wheat from the chaff, so to speak.

The Sellouts
  • Every Republican on the Senate Finance Committee
  • Max Baucus of Montana (the Chairman). Jeers especially to him for not taking a stand and retreating from Democratic values like a coward.
  • Kent Conrad of North Dakota
  • Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas
  • Bill Nelson of Florida*
  • Thomas Carper of Delaware*
The last two on that list did vote for one of the amendments. It could have passed if Baucus had joined them in voting yes and dragged one of the other Democrats along with him. (Psst, that's called leadership, Max.)

The Fighters
  • Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia (and Vice Chair of the Committee)
  • Maria Cantwell of Washington (That's our Senator!)
  • Ron Wyden of Oregon
  • John Kerry of Massachusetts
  • Chuck Schumer of New York
  • Debbie Stabenow of Michigan
  • Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico
  • Robert Menendez of New Jersey
Chuck Schumer, by the way, owned Senator Grassley during the debate over the amendments. The New York Times captured the exchange:
“I think that Medicare is part of the social fabric of America just like Social Security is,” Mr. Grassley said. “To say that I support it is not to say that it’s the best system that it could be.”

“But it is a government-run plan,” Mr. Schumer shot back.

Mr. Grassley, a veteran Senate debater, insisted that Medicare did not pose a threat to the private insurance industry. “It’s not easy to undo a Medicare plan without also hurting a lot of private initiatives that are coupled with it,” he said.

Mr. Schumer pounced. “You are supportive of Medicare,” he said. “I just don’t understand the difference. That’s a government-run plan and the main knock you have made on Senator Rockefeller’s amendment, and I am sure on mine, is that it’s government-run.”
A public option is socialized medicine! But by golly, leave Medicare alone! That about sums up Grassley's absurd and ludicrous position. But hey, he's trying to have it both ways, like a good Republican.

The fight for the public option is by no means over. Baucus may have sold out, but he's not the only one with the power to shape legislation.


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