Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Limp Bill - Max Baucus tackles healthcare

Today, the first of the health care reform bills hits the ballot, with a senate committee vote to send it to the floor.

Devised by Max Baucus and the bipartisan Senate Finance Committee, it's the most conservative of the reform bills being pushed towards a vote - meeting most of Obama's campaign promises, but notably lacking a 'public option.' It's also the bill most likely to be passed.

However, it's a bad bill.

Both Republicans and Democrats have complained about the contents of the Baucus bill. In fact, the only audience that has responded favorably is the health insurance industry itself.

That's hardly surprising - Max Baucus has accepted over $4 million in campaign donations from the health industry, so it's only to be expected that that their requirements took priority over the needs of the American people.

The bill even started off on the wrong foot - instead of discussing every option available to tackle American health care, Baucus was unwilling to even entertain the notion of a single-payer system from the very start. He actually had doctors touting such a system escorted from his committee and arrested - suggesting that his 'exploratory committee' had clearly made it's mind up on which direction it was going in before the first meeting was even called to order.

And what does the Baucus bill deliver? More red tape, a little more gravy for the government and a few meaningless capitulations that will do little to help Americans struggling to cover their health care costs.

It's Washington playing the same old game - politicians looking out for themselves and leaving the voters hanging. I'm as desperate for health care reform as everybody else in the country - but if this is the shape it's in, Baucus can keep it.

1 comment:

Joanna Cake said...

It makes me so cross! Because this applies just as much to the UK on different issues as it does to you guys with your new healthcare system.

Why don't politicians get that the public are fed up with being spoonfed papers and research that are heavily slanted by people who have an axe to grind?

Why can't we have some of these millionaire philanthropists looking at the best way to run the system with help from the doctors and nurses who actually run the health care system on a day to day basis? Someone who isn't actually going to benefit from any of the profits? Someone who won't require to be paid a fortune for producing a paper that will reward either them or the person employing them. Wouldn't that mean that we ended up with a cost-effective and health-centred system? Rather than a system which produces gravy for all the scum who live around the edges...