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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Today in Washington D. C. - Sept 16, 2009 - Baucus' Expensive, Partisan Health Care Plan Draws Litany Of Complaints

The Senate resumed consideration of H.R. 3288, the fiscal 2010 Transportation-Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill. The bill provides $122 billion, including $11.1 billion for federal transit programs. Plans are to begin voting on a series of amendments to the bill. Among them are expected to be at least three amendments from Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) to eliminate earmarks or reduce spending and an amendment from Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) to allow the secured transport of legal firearms on Amtrak trains.

Yesterday, the Senate voted 68-26 to table an amendment from Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to take all money for earmarks in the Transportation-HUD appropriations bill and instead use it to modernize the air traffic control system.

The Washington Post reports, “Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus unveiled an $856 billion health-care reform plan Wednesday that would require nearly all Americans to carry health insurance while barring insurance companies from discriminating against people based on their health status or denying coverage because of preexisting conditions.” However, despite Baucus’ 3 months of work on this bill, it seems that all he’s managed to produce is a bill that has bipartisan detractors. 

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said today, “This partisan proposal cuts Medicare by nearly a half-trillion dollars, and puts massive new tax burdens on families and small businesses, to create yet another thousand-page, trillion-dollar government program. Only in Washington would anyone think that makes sense, especially in this economy.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley, ranking Republican on the Finance Committee, also said he could not support the bill, according to The New York Times. Sen. Grassley said, “I’m disappointed because it looks like we’re being pushed aside by the Democratic leadership so the Senate can move forward on a bill that, up to this point, does not meet the shared goals for affordable, accessible health coverage.” The Times notes Grassley “wanted stronger guarantees that federal money would not be used to pay for abortions or to subsidize health insurance for illegal immigrants, and he is seeking unspecified ‘medical malpractice reforms.’” The Hill reports that “Sen. Olympia Snowe said Tuesday she could not back the Finance Committee’s bill. . . . Snowe said she is concerned about Baucus’s plans to tax high-cost [insurance] plans.”

Meanwhile, Democrats have heaped criticism on the bill from all sides. Sen. Jay Rockefeller told The New York Times, “The way it is now, there’s no way I can vote for the Senate package.” ABC News explains his reasoning: “The West Virginia Democrat worries, however, that a lot of middle class workers, like the coal miners in his state, will end up facing ‘a big, big tax’ under the Baucus bill because they currently enjoy generous employer-provided health care benefits which they receive tax free.” Also critical was House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-NY), who “said Mr. Baucus, by paring the cost of the bill, had also cut the subsidies that would help people buy insurance,” the NYT points out.  In addition, “Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, said he doubted that subsidies in the Baucus bill would be enough to enable middle-income people to buy insurance without straining family budgets, and he vowed to seek changes.” According to The Wall Street Journal, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) had similar concerns. And Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), “challenged Mr. Baucus’s plan to help finance coverage of the uninsured by imposing $4 billion a year in fees on manufacturers of medical devices and diagnostic products,” the NYT notes. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that Democrat Minnesota Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken sent a letter to Baucus opposing the same provision and were joined by Sens. Evan Bayh (D-IN) and Richard Lugar (R-IN).

This morning, Sen. McConnell said, “While getting rid of the government [insurance] plan would be a good start, the Democrat bills we’ve seen would still grant government far too much control over the health care system. Over the past few months, Americans have been saying they’ve had enough of spending, debt, and government expansion. How are Democrats in Washington responding? By trying to rush through another trillion-dollar bill that Americans don’t even want and can’t afford. The American people want health care reform — not with more government, but with less. They don’t want a new government-run system; they want us to repair the system we’ve got. On all these points, the American people are sending a clear and persistent message. It’s time we in Congress started to listen.”

Tags: government healthcare, Max Baucus, US Congress, US House, US Senate, H.R. 3288, 2010 Transportation-Housing and Urban Development appropriations, federal transit programs, earmarks, Washington D.C. To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 12:41 PM - Post Link


Blogger Matt said...

"Obamacare lite," should be the name of this turkey! The basic premise is the same, it's a step towards single payer. It'll take longer to get there than with the public option, but it will get there.

Anonymous Reaganite Republican said...

Note that whenever Obama, Emanuel, or Gibbs are asked about why polls show SO many people oppose their misguided Cap-n-Trade and Obamacare proposals, they ALWAYS segue-right-into “we need to educate the public…”.

LOL- save your breath- Constitutionally-aware patriots don’t take lectures from Marxists.

Anonymous jcjude said...

Yes, wasn’t that the plan to begin with…it was to distribute all the wealth of the rich..and you know, Hollywood people have all their lawyers so they don’t get hitched (pay high taxes) so who is left, we, the middle class…so then we barely make it…Well, we can think who??? You guess!!! Tax increase by our lovely government. Thanks a lot.


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