Sen. Jay Rockefeller Dumps on Baucus' Bill and No Snowe Yet - George's Bottom Line
By George Stephanopoulis, Sept 15:
1. Rockefeller is reacting to Baucus' proposed bill which the embattled GATEKEEPER, chair of Senate Finance, announced today is finally ready (for the umpteenth time) to be released tomorrow or the next day.Following up on his This Week appearance where he promised to fight on for the public option, Sen. Jay Rockefeller blasted the draft bill produced by Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus: “there is no way in its present form that I vote for it unless it changes in the amendment process by vast amounts.”
He’s not alone. Fellow Finance Committee member Ron Wyden is livid too. Expect a rocky mark-up next week. As one top Democrat told me, the fundamental problem is that Democrats “are being asked to support a bipartisan bill that doesn’t have bipartisan support.” The compromise without the cover.
Meanwhile, Republican Olympia Snowe's office just told me that the Senator is not ready to sign on to the Baucus draft. He will introduce it tomorrow without her support. But Snowe intends to keep negotiating and working with Baucus through the mark-up next week.
Majority Leader Harry Reid has scheduled a special caucus on Thursday for Democrats to discuss the Baucus bill. Should be lively.
2. Rockefeller is reacting to the terms of Baucus, which are apparently not liberal enough for the junior senator from West Virginia.
3. Baucus reportedly includes co ops in place of a public option, language to enforce the exclusion of illegals and the public funding of abortion, tort and malpractice reform, and mandates/fines forcing individuals to buy for themselves insurance they were hoping the govt would help them get.
4. Liberal Wyden from Oregon threw a hissy fit this morning, all upset that Baucus would cap out of pocket expenses for the purchase of coverage at 13%.
5. That is, Wyden is furious that Baucus would mandate that all uninsured Americans be forced to pony up up to 13% of their incomes on medical insurance which, for a family making 60G, is a pretty price tag of $7800 per year.
7. David Gregory on Sunday's Meet the Press expressed concern over these very caps, killers to families already in serious straits, with the words, "At what price (the title of a Washington Post editiorial)?"
8. Wyden and Rockefeller, speaking for many, naturally, are rightly concerned that the Gatekeeper is asking them to stick their necks out for a compromise with the GOP which even Olympia Snowe is not willing to support.
9. Mitch McConnell, representing redder Republicans, blasted Baucus this afternoon, bemoaning massive cuts to Medicare and Medicaid as well those messy mandates.
10. Meanwhile, Ways and Means' Rangel, the most corrupt man in Washington, said Obama's speech Wednesday nite made passage of a bill harder.
Rangel: Obama speech made health bill harder - KLTV 7 News Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |
11. Rangel worries that Baucus' 880B price tag is too small, forcing congress to "slash subsidies to the poor."
12. The rather greasy slickster also was bothered that Obama did not specifically tax the rich in his impromptu presentation before Joint Session.
13. Further complicating matters for senate dems is Obama's newest bid (he comes up with one every time he talks, which is several times a day, it seems) to provide IMMEDIATE help for those with pre-existing conditions, a laudable attempt that would have been a sure winner if he'd pushed it from the start, but a provision sadly not included yet in any of the bills so far tortured over by leaders in the president's party.
My Way News - Obama's health prescription a problem for Dems
14. Another bugaboo is the balking of the states in bankrolling Baucus' expansion of Medicaid to folks at 133% of the poverty line, with the 50 taking on increased shares of responsibility relative to DC.
Cost of Senate Panel?s Health Bill Cut to Below $880 Billion - Yahoo! News
15. A conference call with governors is scheduled for this evening.
16. On Sunday, Senator DiFi on MTP said: we must not push Medicaid costs on to the states.
17. CA already shoulders 2B of burden, here, she explained.
18. The senior from CA also said on MTP, "I will not vote for a bill that creates a new entitlement."
Feinstein skeptical about health care costs
19. Obama, at this point, is becoming increasingly irrelevant, mere bystander, except for his promise that his "door is always open."
20. Upshot: the party is serious, it is working its butt off to try and salvage something to save this sinking presidency.
21. The adults (senators) are all sitting up straight, alert and clear eyed, the "season for action" is indeed now.
22. Obstacles to getting anything accomplished, however, MAY be insuperable.
23. Those who know Nancy Pelosi, for example, know it is extremely unlikely the palsied speakeress will agree to rewrite her bill.
24. And behind all this fevered and frantic effort stands the picture of more than a million American patriots lining a mile of Pennsylvania avenue, shoulder to shoulder, Saturday.
25. The prez has not yet reacted to Baucus, but his track record, indeed, his CHARACTER, clearly dictates what he will say about the GATEKEEPER's pressured product---there are parts Obama will like, predictably, and parts he doesn't.