Tales from the Trail

The First Draft: Healthcare, anger and race

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus is due to release a proposal Wednesday for reforming the $2.5 trillion U.S. healthcare system, giving a boost to President Barack Obama’s top domestic policy goal.

Or maybe not.

USA/Baucus has been working with two fellow Democrats and three Republicans — the so-called Gang of Six– to produce a bipartisan healthcare compromise. None of the other healthcare reform bills introduced so far have had Republican support.

The question is whether the Baucus effort will win over some Republicans. So far even the Republicans negotiating with him have shied away from pledging to vote for the measure.

Opposition to healthcare reform, and other government initiatives, has become increasingly bitter in recent months.

Town hall meetings produced outpourings of anger. Representative Joe Wilson shouted “You lie” at Obama as he addressed a joint session of Congress. The president’s decision to speak to students on the first day of school prompted some to keep their children home.

Obama doesn’t find Canadians “particularly scary”

GUADALAJARA, Mexico – The U.S. healthcare debate followed President Barack Obama down to Mexico, where he accused opponents of his overhaul plan of using Canada’s government-backed healthcare system to scare Americans away from change.

The issue came up when a Canadian reporter asked Obama at a news conference with the “three amigos” why “our health care system has become aMEXICO-SUMMIT/ political football in your country.”

Obama is more of a basketball fan, but he picked up the football and ran with it.