Last week, when Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) circulated an outline of the bill he released today, the reform campaign Health Care for America Now pointed me to letters they’d written to leading Democrats urging Baucus to include a public option in his legislation. Ultimately, he didn’t.
Now, HCAN says the Baucus bill is a “failure.”
“The Baucus bill is a gift to the insurance industry that fails to meet the most basic promise of health care reform: a guarantee that Americans will have good health care that they can afford,” says HCAN’s campaign director Richard Kirsch.
The Baucus bill would give a government-subsidized monopoly to the private insurance industry to sell their most profitable plans – high-deductible insurance – without having to face competition from a public health insurer.
Under the Baucus bill, employers would have no responsibility to help pay for their workers’ coverage and would be given incentives to have workers pay more for barebones insurance. Americans who don’t get health benefits through work would still not be able to get good, affordable coverage.
We urge Senators on the Finance Committee to replace the Baucus plan with legislation that will do what the Senate HELP Committee and three House committees have done: guarantee that Americans have good health insurance that they can afford with the choice of a strong national public health insurance option.
That’s not quite the same as saying they urge Senators to vote “no.” I’ll call to get clarification on that point. Either way, they’re not making it a secret where they stand.