His co-ops suck leper donkey dick. They're so bad not even the CBO, which otherwise likes his bill, panned 'em. The only folks who seem to like his co-op scheme are Kent "I'll Be Happy To Champion Your Co-op Idea, UnitedHealth!" Conrad (who's in the pocket of the insurance industry to the tune of $3 million) and the insurance companies, whose stock is now rising because Baucus tried so hard to ensure they won't have competition. They probably love the language in the Baucus debacle that allows them to skirt regulations regarding refusing risky applicants, too.
But if you really want to know why Baucus' bill is such a disaster, look no further than the reason I owe Olympia Snowe an apology:
Sen. Snowe, I couldn't agree more.
All eyes have been on Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe (R), the Senate's most moderate Republican and the only GOP lawmaker on the Hill who seems sincere about wanting a reform bill. She no doubt disappointed Baucus when she concluded that his bill just isn't good enough.
But let's not lose sight of why Snowe balked at the Baucus framework. For one thing, she's concerned about the financing mechanism, which she believes would hit Maine hard. But just as importantly, Snowe also believes (as I do) that Baucus' plan offers weak and inadequate subsidies. "The affordability question is crucial," Snowe said. "It's a central component, because at the end of the day people have high expectations they will have access to affordable health insurance."
In other words, one of the leading Republican negotiators on health care reform believes Baucus' plan is too conservative.
Meanwhile, Gang o' Six member Chuck Grassley, one of the people who has recently enjoyed the caress of Baucus' lips on his backside, reiterated his opposition to any and every health care reform bill unless the Dems promise not to do anything he doesn't like. Something tells me Cons are willfully misunderstanding the realities of "minority party" and "negotiation." That's probably because Dems like Baucus let them get away with it.
Elsewhere, Sen. Judd "I Can't Join The Obama Administration Because Then I Couldn't Have Any Fun Opposing It" Gregg tells doctors they don't really know their own minds.
Washington State Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Arizona Rep. Trent Franks jumped on the death panel bandwagon and immediately turned the crazy up to infinity by claiming health care reform = death panels for special needs kids. As Steve said, "Why has the debate over health care reform been farcical? Why is the notion of "bipartisan compromise" a foolish daydream? This press conference is Exhibit A." According to the poll Greg Sargent found, they'll reach about 30% of the American electorate, while rock-solid majorities know scaremongering when they see it and just aren't impressed. It's pathetic that they'll even reach a third of the country with such dumbfuckery, but no one's credibly claimed America's all that smart lately.
Moving on to slightly saner Cons, someone might want to show Olympia Snowe what's going on in Massachusetts and ask her if that counts as the trigger already being pulled. Bottom line: insurance companies won't do the right thing without irresistible pressure.
Speaking of irresistible pressure, it looks like Sen. Specter's feeling it. He told the AFL-CIO that "Although there's not a lot of support of single-payer, I believe it should be on the table.... At a minimum, we shouldn't settle for anything less than a robust public option." Nice one, Arlen! Primaries work, don't they just?
Anthony Weiner speaks the unvarnished truth about insurance companies and the watery mess Baucus is trying to pass off as an awesome compromise.
And Sen. Roland "Mausoleum" Burris is the first Senator to proclaim he won't vote for a bill that doesn't include a public option. Let's hope he sets a good example, eh?
For all the stupidity out there, I'm seeing a few hints that reform might actually end up meaning something after all.