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Baucus’s Gang of Six Beats Up on Average Joe

Baucus’s Gang of Six Beats Up on Average Joe

Sounds like a win-win for insurers.

The long-awaited Baucus bill includes a mandate for most Americans to purchase health insurance, but with NO public option. Nor does it require employers to provide insurance, although employers with more than 50 workers who do not provide insurance must reimburse the government for some of the cost workers receive — if that coverage is taxpayer-funded.

Penalties for individuals and families who do not purchase insurance range from $750 to $3,800.

Under this plan, insurers would no longer be able to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, insurance companies would no longer be able to impose annual or lifetime limits on coverage, and eligibility for Medicaid would be broadened.

With no public option, the bill relies instead on web-based insurance exchanges that would include all options within your zip code, and standardized health plan premiums and coverage information. Theoretically, consumers will choose from a variety of non-profit, consumer owned and oriented plans. The exchanges would also provide information on eligibility for tax credits.

If the Baucus plan was to get Republicans on board, it is unlikely to do so, and the lack of an employer mandate or a public option will most certainly alienate liberal Democrats. 

I imagine that insurers are doing the dance of joy.

As a person with a pre-existing condition, who is being clobbered by premiums and out-of-pocket expenses, I remain skeptical of any health care reform package that does not include a strong public option to keep insurers honest and costs down. No reform is better than lousy reform.

But nothing’s written in stone yet — the whole health care reform issue is still a work in progress. Any bill that includes no employer mandate, but an individual mandate — and no public option, must not be allowed to pass. Now that’s a moral issue.

Read the press release and summary of bill at finance.senate.gov here.

More from Care2:

Maintaing the Health Care Status Quo is Not An Option–Reform is An Economic and Moral Imperative

Has Baucus Pulled Snowe’s Trigger?

From The Petition Site: We Demand a Public Option. 

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Photo: epw.senate.gov

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72 comments

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7:26AM PDT on Sep 20, 2009

Insurance is not health care. We need a new model, the insurance model should be retired. All American citizens deserve health care. We should have universal health care which is not based on the insurance model.

Reform is not possible because the industry has designed the insurance model for profit and has written and rewritten the rules to suit itself. Car insurance is mandatory, since when does auto insurance improve the safety of automobiles or fuel efficiency? Doe it improve the design of the cars? NO it is a huge money maker for the industry and we are all forced to buy into this scam.

We need a universal health care model that is not based on the insurance model. None of the politicians want this because the health care lobby is so strong and wealthy.

We must speak with one voice and demand universal health care, not insurance!!

7:45PM PDT on Sep 19, 2009

This bill does not help people nearly enough. It helps corporations way too much. I supported democrats so that real health care reform (among other things) would happen. This is not it!

7:24AM PDT on Sep 19, 2009

Hi Kathy C:

"As a self employed single parent of two, this is me! If I could afford $600 a month I would have had health insurance for the past 17 years."

I wouldn't even worry about it, if health insurance is a choice (not included with your job). Really, what's the point? $30 co-pay instead of telling the doctor you'll give him/her $50 if they'll see you for 10 minutes? Plus if you're diagnosed with something catastrophic, declare bankruptcy and let MediAid cover you. It won't make any difference, since the "with insurance" co-pays will bankrupt you anyway, even if they don't purge you from the rolls. You just move up the schedule on your banko by a few months and save reams of paperwork.

Really; health insurance does so little and is so stupid expensive, why buy it if you have a choice?

Just a thought.

7:10AM PDT on Sep 19, 2009

Baucus has completely sold out to his contributors (heavily health insurance interests). And since he works on behalf of those who buy the influence he peddles, and not his constituents, his objective is obvious: protect the current turf of health insurers, and get them 10s of millions of new customers at tax-payer / consumer expense.

I'm not at all surprised that Baucus would advance a bill of this kind. I'm just surprised that people in Montana vote for such a blattant influence peddler.

6:02PM PDT on Sep 18, 2009

Jaette, I guess if it didn't have the words tax cuts or tax credits it wouldn't be republican. They use it as a one idea fits all solution to everything. The economy is on the brink of collapse and the republican stymulus package was all taxcuts. McCain's idea. Auto industry ready to collapse and their idea was? Taxcuts nope! Let them fail. Banks are collapsing and they said "let em' fail". Can you imagine where this country would be if they had won? Lets put a 2% national sales tax out there to help pay for this. Wait a year until the economy picks up and the Bush taxcuts expire and use both to pay for healthcare plus eletronic records and other savings. We can ajust the sales tax to fit the price but a public option is a must.

5:03PM PDT on Sep 18, 2009

Rex, if you read Senator Enzi's plan, you get a good idea of what the GOP is thinking. Reimbursements (an after the fact type deal), tax credits and everything in the lap of the insurance companies. The only thing that you notice is that the people that would be overseeing all this to make certain that the insurance companies are not doing the same old same old is, guess who?, the government. It's the same thing basically, the govt. needing to keep a check on these yay-hoos , but written ass backwards. Especially at the beginning of the 290 pages, where it states that this bill is an effort to not have the Govt. involved in health care decisions. Wha?, and then page after page discussing how the Govt. would be overseeing everything. I say, let's go for that public option and figure out what the mega insurance companies are gonna do later, they can take care of themselves.

5:01PM PDT on Sep 18, 2009

I'm not a fan of this bill. A family of three making $55,000 per year (gross) would pay $7100 for their insurance. That comes out at a little over $590 a month. As a self employed single parent of two, this is me! If I could afford $600 a month I would have had health insurance for the past 17 years.

A family of three making $27,000 a year (gross, which is about $19,000 net) would pay something like $180 a month. Hmmm I kind of think that someone living off less than $2000 a month isn't going to have an extra $180 to spare on health insurance.

They need to figure out a way to make it affordable without adding to the deficit. I don't know how they are going to do that, but I sure do know that anything that takes more money out of the average person's wallet is NOT any better than the system we have now!

And reducing medicare just amounts to health care rationing for older folks. I don't believe in that either.

And, I'm sorry, anyone that doesn't believe we should follow the Constitution and "move forward" should just move.

3:44PM PDT on Sep 18, 2009

Also Jeffrey, Where in the heck state can you get catastrophic health insurance for as little as 150? I want to check that one out! Especially if one has a pre existing.

3:42PM PDT on Sep 18, 2009

Jeffrey,
What good does removing barriers for insurance competition do when we have a monopoly of insurance companies in most of the states? How are we able to create any competition with a handful of HUGE companies?
Also, how are people that have been excised from jobs able to set up a 'savings' account at all to pay for health care? I think that was a stupid idea that came from Cheney a long time ago.
If we can 'barely' to 'not afford' health care, how are we then going to set up a 'savings account' for insurance? My husband and I haven't been able to save in the past 3 years of being let go from our companies and then trying to start individual companies. It's the money thing, always the money isn't it. The insurance companies have amassed huge amounts and the average person with or without a job is getting squeezed just enough so they don't pop. Let's get that public option up and going first order of business and then we'll worry about the 'poor' insurance companies later.

1:44PM PDT on Sep 18, 2009

Jeffrey, thank you very much for a civil answer. That's all I ever ask for. I agree with some of your ideas especially selling policies across state lines. I have been saying that for years. But and this is a big but, alot of poor people can't afford $400 a month. Someone making $8 an hour just can't do it. I would still like to know the republicans plan and I know your not a republican but if you find out what it is let us know, please. Also, I am still for the public option. I think it's the best way to keep the healthcare companies from raising prices every 5 minutes. See we can be nice if we want to...

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