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Archive for Thursday, September 17, 2009

Baucus outlines health plan without GOP support

September 17, 2009

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— His calls for compromise rebuffed by Republicans, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Finance Committee unveiled sweeping legislation Wednesday to remake the nation’s costly health care system largely along the lines outlined by President Barack Obama.

Sen. Max Baucus’ proposal, months in the making, drew quick criticism from liberals who said his vision was too cramped and from Republicans who deemed it overly expansive. Yet whatever its fate, its mere release marked a critical turning point in Congress’ long and tumultuous debate over Obama’s top domestic priority.

The Finance Committee is to meet next week to vote on the plan, and after combining it with another panel’s bill, Majority Leader Harry Reid intends to begin debate on the Senate floor late this month or early October. Across the Capitol, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been waiting to see Baucus’ health care prescription before advancing companion legislation toward a vote by the House.

“We cannot let this opportunity pass,” Baucus, D-Mont., said as he outlined a $856 billion plan designed to protect millions who have unreliable insurance or no coverage at all, at the same time restraining the explosive growth of medical costs.

Congressional budget experts estimated the proposal would reduce the ranks of the uninsured by 29 million over a decade. They also predicted the plan would trim federal deficits by $49 billion over the same period and suggested savings in the range of hundreds of billions of dollars might result for the decade that follows.

Many of the bill’s major provisions would be delayed until 2013, after the next presidential election.

But the impact of one of the key concessions Baucus made in a so-far-unsuccessful search for Republican support — allowing cooperatives, rather than the federal government, to sell insurance in competition with private industry — was judged harshly.

“They seem unlikely to establish a significant market presence in many areas of the country,” wrote Douglas W. Elmendorf, head of the Congressional Budget Office.

Supporters claim the co-ops would compete effectively with private companies and help hold down the cost of insurance, but CBO’s assessment is likely to re-energize advocates of direct government competition.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs called the overall legislation an “important building block” that “gets us closer to comprehensive health care reform.”

Reid, too, described it as “another important piece to the puzzle” on the road to health care legislation. Pelosi said that while the bill would do less than House legislation to make coverage more affordable, its emergence “will move this historic debate forward.”

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who has labored to keep his rank and file united in opposition, called it a partisan proposal that “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.”

Comments

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 7 months ago

"No its not, its upwards of 12%. I can make unsupported claims too."

My claim was based on having previously reviewed the research. Your claim was just made up out of thin air.

http://prescriptions.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/31/would-tort-reform-lower-health-care-costs/

"According to the actuarial consulting firm Towers Perrin, medical malpractice tort costs were $30.4 billion in 2007, the last year for which data are available. We have a more than a $2 trillion health care system. That puts litigation costs and malpractice insurance at 1 to 1.5 percent of total medical costs. That’s a rounding error. Liability isn’t even the tail on the cost dog. It’s the hair on the end of the tail."

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Sigmund 4 years, 7 months ago

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says… "It's certainly worth addressing on some level, Sigmund, but the facts (you know, those pesky little distractions) show that malpractice payouts only account for 2-3% of all healthcare expenditures."

No its not, its upwards of 12%. I can make unsupported claims too.

average (Anonymous) says… "You know, Sig, Kansas already passed pretty strict tort caps. As has Missouri. As did Texas over 15 years ago. As have more than a dozen other states."

True enough and where they have health care costs have risen slower, or as the case in Texas declined for some services. If we are going to have "National" health care, we need national uniform tort and malpractice standards. Otherwise citizens in capped states will end up subsidizing no capped states.

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KEITHMILES05 4 years, 7 months ago

This is insurance company reform, not health care reform.

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SettingTheRecordStraight 4 years, 7 months ago

On principal, liberals should categorically reject any plan that forces Americans to purchase health insurance. Any other posture is the equivalent of putting the shackles on your own ankles.

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average 4 years, 7 months ago

You know, Sig, Kansas already passed pretty strict tort caps. As has Missouri. As did Texas over 15 years ago. As have more than a dozen other states.

Did it notably reduce medical spending? Not even slightly. But, if you think implementing it nationally will make a bigger difference, I'm okay with it... no real love for the lawyers. Just don't expect it to make a difference.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 7 months ago

"Not a word of malpractice reform"

It's certainly worth addressing on some level, Sigmund, but the facts (you know, those pesky little distractions) show that malpractice payouts only account for 2-3% of all healthcare expenditures. If the insurance rates for malpractice are too high, it's mostly because of the insurance companies, not the lawyers.

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Tom Shewmon 4 years, 7 months ago

Another nail in Democrat's coffin.

(laughter)

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Sigmund 4 years, 7 months ago

Not a word of malpractice reform, owned by the trial lawyers like every other democrat in congress and the administration.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 7 months ago

http://www.commondreams.org/further/2009/09/16-1

From the Onion

"I've been "serving" the great state of Montana in the U.S. Senate since 1978. You'll notice I put "serving" in quotes, because, let's face it, I suck. My wife has been pleading with me not to say this publicly, insisting that it's not true, that I'm a capable and dedicated public servant, blah, blah, blah. Bless her dear heart, but she's just being nice. Because, folks, I am telling you, I am hands-down the sh!tt!est senator in the history of the Senate. The worst."

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