Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Senator Maria Cantwell: Baucus bill does not constitute real healthcare reform

Encouraging words from our representative on the Senate Finance Committee:
Sen. Maria Cantwell said unless significant changes were made she would be unable to support a major health care reform bill unveiled Wednesday by the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

The Washington Democrat, a member of the Finance Committee, said the measure from Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., did not include a government-run insurance option and failed to overhaul the Medicare reimbursement formula which is critical to Washington state.

"I wouldn't vote for a bill that doesn't have Medicare reform and the public option," Cantwell said in a telephone interview. "What would I tell the people in Washington state?"
That's our Senator. Those who were worried that Senator Cantwell would not stand strong in favor of a robust public option ought to feel heartened by these comments. That's a great quote, too... What would I tell the people in Washington State? Almost feels like we're eavesdropping on a meeting between her and Max where she's patiently explaining why BaucusCare is simply not acceptable.

Baucus' feeble bill is pretty bad, and not much of an improvement over the status quo. In fact, the most it could accomplish as designed is to offer a little temporary relief which would really only succeed in reminding everyone how timid Congress is in trying to address our problems. (See also, Congress deadlocked over how to not provide healthcare, by The Onion).

Passing the Baucus bill would be like trying to put a bandage on a broken body... the broken body in this case being our healthcare system.

President Obama has repeatedly insisted that a public option is only one element in his plan. What he often fails to say is that the public option is about the only element in there that could have any meaningful impact on the insurance industry's business practices. Without a public option to keep them honest, insurance companies will just look for opportunities to go back to their old ways.

They'll find loopholes and exploit them. Just look at what credit card issuers are doing now. That's bad enough, but healthcare goes beyond dollars and cents. Lives are at stake. People who don't have coverage need to be covered.

Any bill that does not incorporate a robust public option is a nonstarter. Progressives in the House and Senate should stand strong and vote down any bill that doesn't include one. Enough caving to the Bush Dogs, er, I mean, Blue Dogs. Force them to join us instead of the other way around. It's time to take a stand. If progressives on Capitol Hill can't do that at this pivotal time, then they will be sending the message that reaching a deal, any deal, is more important than the progressive values they profess to believe in.

We are already compromising by not moving forward with single payer healthcare. The public option cannot be compromised... period!


Blogger OneLiberalVoice said...

I am still not very hopeful, despite Cantwell's statement. She is just one of 100. There are too many Blue Cross/Blue Shield Democrats and I don't get, for the life of me, all the cow towing to Republicans who will not vote for this bill no matter WHAT is in it.

September 17, 2009 5:15 PM  


The American public is right to be suspicious of leadership that will not take immediate and specific action that would reduce an estimated $200 billion dollars from the Nation’s annual medical bill.

The administration and legislature are staying away from confronting their friends, and former classmates, in the legal profession.


September 17, 2009 11:24 PM  

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