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Wednesday morning, Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, released his proposal for health care reform (attached here). The bill, which would cost an estimated $856 billion over the next 10 years, seems to have overcome the partisan divide that exists in Washington and brought Senators from both sides of the aisle together. Unfortunately for Baucus and his liberal peers, the bipartisan cooperation that has emerged is not in favor of, but rather opposition to, the 223 page proposal.
After Baucus revealed his proposal, Senator Grassley (R-IA), the Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, released the following statement:
I’m disappointed because it looks like we’re being pushed aside by the Democratic leadership so the Senate can move forward on a bill that, up to this point, does not meet the shared goals for affordable, accessible health coverage that we set forth when this process began. In addition to concerns about costs to taxpayers and affordability for individuals, there are still some serious outstanding issues that have yet to be resolved…
Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) also voiced his disapproval of the Baucus plan:
If the Baucus proposal passes, (citizens are) going to say, “Huh? Health-care security means I pay a whole lot more than I’m paying today or I get to be exempt from it, or I pay a penalty?” They’re not going to say that meets the definition of health-care security.
Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) stated:
I am disappointed that deadlines took precedence over agreement of the bipartisan group of Finance Committee members, as we worked on a final health care bill… The proposal released today still spends too much, and it does too little to cut health care costs for those with health insurance. At a time when our nation faces a $9 trillion deficit, we should target assistance to those in the greatest need without creating unsustainable new entitlement programs… Although there is a sense of urgency, getting it done fast is not as important as getting it done correctly.
And Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) is refusing to sign the bill in its current form:
…there is no way in its present form that I vote for it unless it changes in the amendment process by vast amounts.
After reviewing Mr. Baucus’s proposal, we at FreedomWorks are disappointed that the reforms that we have been calling for are not included. Also, Republicans probably would have been more sympathetic to the proposal if some of their ideas had been included.
During the month of August, and most recently at our 9/12 Taxpayer March, the American people turned out in overwhelming numbers to voice their opposition to the health care reform being offered by Democrats. After seeing the early reaction from Senators on both sides of the political spectrum, one thing has become clear: the Baucus health care reform proposal has the potential to become as unpopular amongst Senators as it is amongst the American public.