September 9, 2009

If it weren't Lou Dobbs saying it and knowing he always likes to take a shot at the Obama administration ever since the black man got elected and his brain exploded, I'd almost be inclined to agree with Dobbs on this one. I don't think it's "authoritarian" to want everyone to have to pay into a system that makes sure everyone is covered and has health insurance of some sort. I do agree that what Baucus is proposing looks like nothing less than making sure all of us are going to pay into the health insurance industry monopoly whether we like it or not with no assurance they're not going to still rip everyone off on premiums since there is not at least a public option in his plan.

And why in the hell is Baucus at this late date still pretending that any Republicans are going to vote for any of this? They already had the Democrats take all of their amendments and then still said they wouldn't vote for what the Democrats compromised on with the bill.

All I can say is, let me in a poker game with any of these guys since I'd go home with a pocket full of money. Never show your hand or let the other person call your bluff until you have to. And as a twenty some year union member, I can also say that the Democrats obviously haven't learned what the term "bargaining in good faith" means. They could use a few of our Business Reps showing them how not to be played for suckers when you negotiate.

I'm not sure just what Max Baucus' game is here, but I've grown tired of it. He's had months to get something done and what he's come out with is a sell out to the insurance industry. I hope to hell the Progressive Causus in the House isn't going to stand for this.

And surprise, surprise it turns out that "just when you thought the Baucus revolving door couldn’t spin faster: the Senate staffer responsible for devising the tax policies at the heart of the Baucus plan is a former lobbyist for health insurance and pharmaceutical interests, including an insurance industry front group".

Color me not shocked. Obama needs to decide which side he's on in this debate whether he cares about keeping his base. As John has said, he's going to lose the left if he sells us out.

Transcript below the fold.

BASH: [O]f that so-called gang of six meeting. The bipartisan negotiators who have been meeting for months and months and the reason is because they know full well that the White House simply doesn't think that they're going to get a deal, that the Republicans, especially two Republicans you see on the screen there, Charles Grassley and Mike Enzi, they simply don't think at the White House that they're going to at the end of the day sign on to a bipartisan plan. That is why Max Baucus, the chairman, came out and told us this afternoon that he is giving them until 10:00 tomorrow morning to come back with counter proposals and that he hopes to decide whether or not they can go forward with this bipartisan deal by tomorrow afternoon. Listen to what Max Baucus said.


SEN. MAX BAUCUS (D), MONTANA: (INAUDIBLE) a lot of this comes down to political...

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Senator, is there...

BAUCUS: I'm just hopeful that when the president gives his statement tomorrow night that that's going to help move all forward and (INAUDIBLE). The rubber is starting to meet the road here.


BASH: Now Lou, this is the 18-page proposal of what Senator Baucus sent around to that -- five other senators. He did it over the holiday weekend and that's what they were discussing in the meeting today. And I can go over for you some so of the highlights that both -- many of these senators do see as points of compromise.

First and foremost, that public option is not in this. Instead, it is -- there are nonprofit, so-called cooperatives that would take effect. There's no employer mandate, no mandate from employers to give their employees coverage except that there is a penalty for companies that have 50 or more employees if they don't give their employees coverage.

There is a mandate for individuals. All individuals in this country to get health insurance coverage. Now for people at or above the -- right above the poverty level, they will get subsidies for the government. But if not, if just for example, a family of four making $66,000 a year, if they don't have health insurance coverage, they would be fined a penalty of $3,800 if they don't have health insurance coverage. Those are some of examples of what's in this proposal. I can tell you that one of the Republicans, Olympia Snowe, just told our Ted Barrett that she doesn't think that they can get a deal by tomorrow night. If that's the case, Max Baucus might move on without the Republicans. We'll see.

DOBBS: Well move on without the Republicans, how about the rest of the country? When you start fining people $3,800 in this country, Dana, for not having health care insurance, I mean, that takes on certain -- well, authoritarian tones, does it not?

BASH: Well that's certainly what we heard from Republicans who are not in this -- in this meeting today. John McCain went to the senator floor and blasted that idea. We haven't heard very much from the negotiators on that. We're waiting to hear what they say, whether or not they can sign onto this.

DOBBS: I don't understand something. Perhaps you can sort it out for us. Max Baucus set a 10:00 a.m. deadline tomorrow?

BASH: 10:00 a.m. deadline tomorrow for...

DOBBS: And the president doesn't speak until tomorrow evening at that joint session. And he says he needs Obama to help move forward any possible compromise, but he's got a deadline that will take place hours before the president speaks. Sort that out for us.

BASH: Sure, what he said is that he wants the other senators to come back with their problems with this. He insisted there were only four or five major issues and that the group is going to meet again tomorrow afternoon. He didn't lay down a line to say absolutely we're going to you know make or break this before the president's speech, but he absolutely is using the, you know the deadline of the president having a speech in the hopes of moving this group along.

He's not wedded to you know to saying we're going to fish or cut bait, to use his words, by tomorrow night, but he certainly is trying to put the pressure on big time because he knows the pressure is on him because the White House simply doesn't think that this is the forum for the health care proposal that the White House can ultimately sign on for. He wants to prove them wrong because he has been working for months and months to get this bipartisan deal.

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