Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus has made several last minute changes to his version of the bill, the jist of which is to make certain that insurance is affordable to people at low and middle – income levels. According to Reuters, he is meeting with senate Democrats right now (Monday evening) to explain what changes he has made to the bill.
The committee itself will be formally considering the Health Care bill starting tomorrow (Tuesday). Interesting to see that in politics the negotiations happen before the meeting, at least the ones that carry meaning. Nations around the globe are doing just this in the lead-up to the climate change summit in Copenhagen, using G20 summits and other summits about other things as places to draw lines in respective sands- using the media to make points and calling on each other to lead the way.
Whatever you think of Obama, you have to give it to him on that front- he is leading the way without hesitation and without compromise on the big issues of healthcare reform. He would be doing the same thing on climate change, and perhaps even on financial reform if he could get the Democrat-majority Congress to follow his lead. That’s where the leadership is faltering. He’s got the plan, he’s got the speeches and he’s got the people- but he doesn’t have the Congress- yet.
A Democrat in the time of a recession and he isn’t leading sweeping healthcare reforms? In California there’s 12%+ unemployment and these guys are not saying- yeah, we need this healthcare reform- we need this to be affordable for people.
Not that the scare tactics of the conservative protesters mean much- death panels and the destruction of the private insurance system are both in the same class of not happening anytime soon regardless of what the vote is on healthcare reform-
What is in the possible camp of happening sometime soon, though, is a basic, affordable healthcare option for people who can’t pay for insurance right now. It will save us money in the long-run and bring us into the 21st century as far as “developed” or industrialized countries go-
So what did Baucus do?
"We had a number of amendments filed to reduce the penalty imposed for not purchasing insurance and to make sure that families at all income ranges can afford the lower cost insurance to be provided through the exchange," said a source.
The idea is to pay for these provisions with money that will be saved by the bill itself- interesting math, but it will be changed later anyway.
Regardless, Baucus’ version of the bill will require everyone to get insurance- meaning, if his version passes, we’ll have to buy it, but we’ll all have it.