I wonder when it's going to sink into Max Baucus's thick skull that Republicans aren't going to make a deal because as a party, they simply aren't interested in solving the problems of healthcare.
Maybe I'm giving Max too much credit for trying, and he knows exactly what he's doing. Because his latest proposal is a Kabuki dance of a bill that won't really help people. In fact, we'd be paying obscene amounts of money for a plan that doesn't really cover anything.
Bug - or feature?
WASHINGTON — In a last effort to give the Senate a bipartisan health care bill, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee circulated a comprehensive proposal on Sunday to overhaul the health care system and proposed a new fee on insurance companies to help pay for coverage of the uninsured.
The proposal is the culmination of more than a year of work by the chairman, Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana. A similar fee was proposed by several liberal Democrats in July. In making it part of his proposal, Mr. Baucus may help cover the costs of the bill but also risks alienating Republicans whom he is trying to win over. Mr. Baucus is struggling to forge a bipartisan consensus among 6 of the 23 senators on his committee before President Obama puts new pressure on lawmakers in an address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday evening.
The proposal by Mr. Baucus does not include a public option, or a government-run insurance plan, to compete with private insurers, as many Democrats want.
This is Max trying to sidestep the charge of taxing workers on their benefits. But of course, there's nothing in the bill to prevent insurance companies from simply jacking up the premiums to cover their losses. Oh, and there's also this:
Mr. Baucus’s plan, expected to cost $850 billion to $900 billion over 10 years, would tax insurance companies on their most expensive health care policies. The hope is that employers would buy cheaper, less generous coverage for employees, thereby reducing the overuse of medical services.
Yeah, because that's the real problem. We all use our health coverage too much.
Max's bill is real horror show for working people. Is this the legislation that's supposed to scare the Republicans into supporting reform? Because it looks like something they'd dream up:
Another section of Mr. Baucus’s proposal would help pay insurance premiums, co-payments and deductibles for people with incomes less than 300 percent of the poverty level ($66,150 for a family of four). It would also provide some protection for people with incomes from 300 percent to 400 percent of the poverty level (up to $88,200 for a family of four), so they would generally not have to pay more than 13 percent of their income in premiums.
[...] Mr. Baucus would impose limits on out-of-pocket medical costs — the co-payments, deductibles and similar charges for covered items and services. The limits would be $11,900 a year for a family and $5,950 for an individual. The comparable numbers in the House bill are $10,000 and $5,000.
What they want is the illusion of a bill that won't actually help anyone. Where do they think all this money's going to come from, especially with a U-6 of more than 15%? Is this going to help anyone get care they need? Hardly.
In the meantime, Max, people like this are literally dying to get health insurance for their families.