Liberal Democrats after Baucus over public insurance option

September 28, 2009

Senator Max Baucus is taking a bashing from liberal Democrats for leaving public insurance out of the Senate Finance Committee’s healthcare reform bill.

With the committee chaired by Baucus headed for a showdown on the issue Tuesday, a new ad taken out by the liberal wing of his own Democratic party notes he took millions in contributions from the health and insurance industries and asks: “Whose side are you on?”

Baucus is a target because he kept a public option out of his healthcare bill in order to try to fashion a measure that could win both Republican and Democratic support.

President Barack Obama favors a public option. Under the system he proposes, people who do not get health insurance through their employer could go to a government-sponsored marketplace to buy insurance.

The marketplace would be comprised mainly of private insurers, but Obama also favors a public option to make sure there is enough competition to push down prices.

Republicans firmly oppose a public insurance option, arguing it will ultimately drive private firms out of business and lead to a government takeover of the $2.5 trillion health system.

The Senate Finance Committee Tuesday will debate amendments that would put a public insurance option into the Baucus bill.

Baucus’ efforts to win bipartisan support have gained little ground so far. Even the Republicans that negotiated for months with him have not yet committed to endorsing the final bill.

Republicans are using the healthcare issue to try out new attack lines.

The Republican National Committee circulated a new Web ad Monday charging Obama and the Democrats will impose seven different kinds of taxes to pay for healthcare reform.

A survey by Rasmussen Reports Monday found support for Obama’s plan still slipping. Just 41 percent of voters nationwide favored it, while 56 percent opposed.

For more Reuters political news, click here.


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The problem with health care is insurance and the greedy hospitals and politicians who are conniving with them to make us pay for insurance that is not honored. Either these insurance companies are removed or we are given an alternative to them. There are two option then -stiff competition or stringent government oversignt

Posted by Ted Serrant | Report as abusive

Europe has shown public health care WORKS!

At least half of the people and the president accept that. (the ones not brain-washed by the corporat-minded politicians and the AMA/pharmaceutical industries)

Fire every politician that will not comply with the wishes of the PEOPLE!

Posted by philip gregory | Report as abusive

The public option is not necessary to achieve most of the objectives of healthcare reform. Just outlaw the most onerous practices of private insurance companies. Require everyone to have health insurance; insure those with pre-existing conditions; make policies non-cancellable; outlaw any cap on benefits; and limit annual out of pocket expenses. Those changes would be a major reform and would surely drive up premiums. Then establish cost reduction goals for insurance and drug companies to meet within 5 years and demand that executive and board compensation be returned to the historical relationship or ratio to worker compensation. Let’s see how that works before we throw the baby out with the bath water.

Posted by ultima | Report as abusive

Please add the public option to the health care program. It must be put in, we are suprised that you would not put this in the plan.

Please put this in the plan.


Posted by Andy Tortorici | Report as abusive

philip gregory:

Enough Obama love already. Read the article – 41% for, 56% opposed. Guess we should fire the Democrats?

Unfortunately Obama can’t get the deal done because he is angry and talks out of both sides of his mouth. Even Chavez said at the UN that Obama says one thing and does another.

Posted by JayKay | Report as abusive

Why should it be my job to pay taxes to give health insurance to smokers, drinkers, druggies, lazy people, illegal aliens and people scamming the system?

Why should my taxes go to help people who live in houses they can’t afford, drive new cars, have cable, internet, cell phone plans and, generally, live beyond their means, yet, are eligible in these health plans? 300% or more above the poverty level!!! If you can’t afford insurance and you make that much money, you spend too much on things you don’t need.

The idea the healthcare insurance needs an overhaul is ridiculous. How about taking a bite out of the profits of the drug companies? How about taking a bite out the profits of the oil companies? The tobacco companies? The alcohol brewers and the rest of the companies the reap billions in net profits each year.

How many diseases/deaths are caused from using tobacco? From drinking alcohol (and the car wrecks)? From pollution?
Think about it, read about it, call your representative or senator about it. Speak up or your kids and grandkids will pay for this.

Posted by Randy L. AZ Resident | Report as abusive


Enough Obama bashing already. Rasmussen is well liked by Fox News and other conservative outlets because it consistently presents issue polls with conservative bias.

Go to any poll agreggator like Pollingpoint or Pollingreport, which collect ALL the poll data, and you will see that 75% want a public option, including 75% of medical professionals.

Further, they consistently poll the conservative opposition at less than 20% on just about everything.

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive

My wife had a baby last year, with the best plan available from Aetna, we paid almost $2,500 in out of pocket expenses for a normal delivery and normal follow up visits. My relative who works for the government had colon cancer the same year. His cancer treatments and operation cost over $100K and his only out of pocket expense was $90. Need I say more? You have to be completely lacking in wisdom not to support a public option. His care wasn’t delayed. He didn’t stand in line for days to get care. Nobody thought about euthanizing him, he in his late 50’s. He’s been cancer free for a year now so he got the treatment his condition required. His monthly premiums are half of what I pay every month last year and this year. Need I say more?

Posted by Rich | Report as abusive

OMG! I just read some dude thinks using a comment from Chavez makes for a good argument! Ha, ha, ha!

Posted by Rich | Report as abusive

BAUCUS :Be Alert Undecided Congress members of the United States. Senator Baucus:”ALSO YOU BRUTUS” for approx.4 million with his hand in the insurance and pharmaceutical jar. According to Wendell Potter Former Vice President of CIGNA. ” AN HEALTH BILL WITHOUT A PUBLIC OPTION IS NOT WORSE VOTING FOR” (Direct Quote)
65% of the population wants a PUBLIC OPTION. The doctors,nurses,Hospitals,Unions,AARP all want A PUBLIC OPTION.
It is beyond me that SENATOR BAUCUS still wants to risk his coming up election. BUT THE PEOP{LE IN MONTANA WILL NOT FORGET HIS BETRAYAL.

Posted by Harold Rock | Report as abusive

Who is running this poll Getplaning,acorn?even the media swooners are showing Obama below 50% and to get a response like this the “Truth seekers”must have been polled!

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

Lets fix healthcare in america!
Add the public option!

And while we are waiting for reform.
OUTLAW denials of coverage from the health insurance companies.

I support a tax increase to supply everyone in america healthcare coverage.

Posted by an AirForce Veteran

Posted by ddddddd | Report as abusive

@ ultima:
What would stop the insurance theives from accepting the pre existing condition constraints and following up with $2000 per month premiums for those who need care the most?

@ JayKay:
Taking your cues from Chavez? Try and remember where America is.

@ Randy L:
Let me know when your agenda of having everyone live the way you decide is just and proper comes to pass. I’ll move to Afghanistan.

How about a modicum of morality? Is it correct to have America the only industrialized country shoving democracy down everyone’s throat while stepping over the bodies of our own?

Posted by Unemployed | Report as abusive

Why do the people elect someone like Baucus? He’s a nobody and really has no clue about any of this. Just a name building endeavor.

Posted by Frank | Report as abusive

This is not an issue of health care coverage. This is an issue of insurance availability.

This is the sad part is that the issue of caring for our sick and suffering has been turned into nothing more than an argument over who gets stuck with the check.

Human suffering, and the relief of that suffering is the primary focus of all healers. The healers are in shackles. They can’t do the things they know they should because the “accountants” are the only ones who can give the “blessing” to do so. This is like a bad dream.

We think nothing of bowing to the powers that be when they demand we pay for the sins of profiteers against us. But we sneer at the idea of paying for something as important as health, which is a benefit to all of us.

To hell with who’s going to pay for it. OUR MONEY IS WORTHLESS. Toss good after bad and it counts for nothing. Focus on healing instead. We should not be arguing this. A pubic option is good for the citizen. When those who support the business sector “firmly oppose a public insurance option, arguing it will ultimately drive private firms out of business and lead to a government takeover of the $2.5 trillion health system.”:

What that means is that public health care would be bad for business and they would not profit as much from your illnesses as they would if there were no other alternatives available to you. If you oppose a public option you are basically in agreement with the idea that a businesses profit is more important than whether you or your loved ones are even cared for at best, or allowed to live at worst.

We are not animals. And we should not be content to live as such.

Posted by Benny Acosta | Report as abusive

Benny Acosta:

I agree with you wholeheartedly. The fact that our focus is on “who gets the check” is in my eyes the first step in a series of remedies needed. If we get the greediest vampires out of the loop,, the rest will be more readily managed.

Posted by Unemployed | Report as abusive

In another posting on today’s (9/29th) Reuters titled “The First Draft: Public option, (& Afghan policy), under scrutiny.” Sixth paragraph down states:
“,,,A tracking poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation Tuesday found that public support for health reform rose in September after declining during the summer. The poll found 57 percent believe reform is more important than ever.
It found 59 percent favored a public option…” See: 90.pdf

Which poll do we believe?

I’m just saying…

Posted by Don B. Sea | Report as abusive

There shouldn’t be any vampires in the loop at all. Money is only an issue because profit is still the main motivation behind insuring people for anything.

Profit is a motive in and of itself, and for its own sake. The human being is only a piece of the profit generating machine. And not an all together important part either. The argument over who gets stuck with the check is an argument over who gets the profit. And those who stand to loose profit are arguing vehemently against a public option.

The quality of your health and the health of your loved ones is not basis for their angst. Their loss of potential profit is the root of their argument. Nothing more.

This is why I say to hell with the whole notion of who gets stuck with the check. Paying for a public option is not something to be seen as a chore. But rather as an honor.

We would be waking up as a nation in some small measure, to the idea that we as human beings are worth the “effort” of ensuring access to something as fundamental to life as health care.

Money should only be a side consideration. Money should be thought of only as a means to facilitate the exchange of resources and nothing more. Human life is the true treasure in this place. Money itself has no value. It should not be treated as if it does.

Posted by Benny Acosta | Report as abusive

Benny Acosta:

Once again, I agree completely.

BTW you’re a very good writer.

Posted by Unemployed | Report as abusive

:-) Thank you.

Posted by Benny Acosta | Report as abusive

Benny Acosta- Very well said. America was once a country where every person had a vote. Now it is a country where every dollar has a vote.

Posted by getplaning | Report as abusive

getplaning America is a place where people can have up to 10 votes, and you can carry on voting when your dead,thanks to acorn,only limitation is limited choice of course.One solution could be everyone join the trade union movement,wonderful health care. In all the different bills no matter who many times the democrats throw the cards up in the air they never come down showing how they are going to pay for them,we only get whimsical excuses.But the BIGGEST nightmare is the democratic congress trying to juggle with health care administration people do not believe they have the capabilities.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

yes it has changed getplaning,now you can have 10votes and even vote when you are dead,thanks to acorn.Only problem,only limited to one choice of party.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive