CNN: Baucus plan to exclude public option

posted at 1:50 pm on September 7, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Max Baucus (D-MT), chair of the Senate Finance Committee and one of six Senators attempting a bipartisan compromise on health-care reform, has threatened to write his own plan if those negotiations fail.  CNN reports that Baucus has his plan ready to drop in the Senate, and that it will not include the public option that Barack Obama has wanted and that the House Progressive Caucus has demanded.  It will cost less than other proposals, but its funding will trigger yet another attack on one of Obama’s pet arguments:

A proposed health-care bill by the powerful chairman of the Senate Finance Committee does not include a government-run insurance plan, a source close to the discussions said Monday.

Although the proposal from Sen. Max Baucus excludes a “public option,” it would allow for the creation of nonprofit health care cooperatives, an idea that some moderate Democrats and Republicans have expressed possible interest in supporting. …

Baucus’ bill would cost less than $900 billion over 10 years, according to the source. The price tag is at least $100 billion less than any other health-care reform bill currently under consideration by Congress, the source said.

It would be paid for, in part, by a new tax on health insurance companies that provide high-end “Cadillac” insurance plans, the source added.

Supporters of such a tax, initially proposed by Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry and other Democrats several weeks ago, say will it help curb the cost of health care by discouraging employers from offering such plans.

Obama is often fond of claiming that ObamaCare won’t force people to change insurance plans.  This tax intends to do just that, in the name of preventing “overuse” of medical resources.  This is the usual attempt to impose parity not by improving the lives of others, but by rationing resources so that a certain equality of mediocrity exists instead.

Of course, the better way to proceed in curtailing the overuse of resources is to eliminate third-party payers from most medical care.  When consumers have to pay for services and goods directly, pricing mechanisms keep the market from overuse as demand escalates price before it increases supply.  For that reason, any reform should involve the end of tax breaks for comprehensive insurance policies and the encouragement of health-savings accounts (HSAs) along with the creation of catastrophic health insurance coverage that would be readily available to all for a much lower price.

Instead, Baucus wants to use the tax code for even more social engineering, making the IRS responsible for enforcing not just the presumed individual mandates that are already part of HR3200, but also to determine what exactly qualifies as a “Cadillac plan” and enforcing compliance.  Does anyone in this country truly believe that the IRS plays too small a role in American lives?

I imagine that people who have these Cadillac plans like them.  So what happens to this Obama argument?

Now, I don’t know how clearly I can say this, but let me try to repeat it: If you’ve got health insurance that you’re happy with through the private sector, then we’re not going to force you to do anything.

The Baucus plan will force people out of “Cadillac plans,” which makes that inoperative — although I don’t think for a moment that Obama will stop using that argument.

As for co-ops, I’ll stick with what I wrote late last month.  Nothing prevents co-ops for health insurance from forming now, without government intervention.  Putting government behind the co-op movement makes them dependent on government for continued operation, and we can expect them to feed at the federal trough just as electric-power co-ops have done for decades.  Why are we recycling this bad idea in order to rescue another bad idea?


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I have a stupid question. If insurers stop offering these Cadillac plans so as to avoid this tax, and people accept lesser plans, if that happens where does the money come from to pay for this govt plan? It’s like using cigarette tax to pay for health care. If people stop smoking where does this money come from?

xkaydet65 on September 7, 2009 at 5:35 PM

Congress Critters, Senate Scum and the Labor Unions’ plans are undisputably the Cadillac of all Cadillac plans so I propose we tax the HELL out of them first as a sort of test case!

Well I guess that idea falls flat on its face as it has been shown that Dem Congress Critters and Senate Scum just don’t pay the taxes they owe, nothing happens as a result of their non compliance, so they would be unlikely to pay a new tax on their Health Benefits. Just cancel their care and let em expire would be a second option!

Yea, try that second option, canacel their care and let the Congress Critters and Senate Scumbags expire.
Thats’ what their tryin to foist upon us.

dhunter on September 7, 2009 at 6:21 PM

Headfake

marklmail on September 7, 2009 at 6:39 PM

A recall effort was just launched here in Montana.

Montana residents only:

http://www.petitiononline.com/fltp001/petition.html

Keemo on September 7, 2009 at 6:58 PM

Is that for real Keemo? If you guys get this done your state is movin to the top of my list of places to retire to.
It has to be somewhere with mountains, elk hunting, trout fishing, gun loving, law abiding politically conservative citizens.

Any chance you can get Ted Turner booted out?

dhunter on September 7, 2009 at 7:19 PM

You really have to love the liberal logic here. Health insurance is too expensive, so we have to make it even MORE expensive so that it doesn’t cost as much.

I hate libs….I really really do.

xblade on September 7, 2009 at 7:23 PM

no one is listening to you Max

bluegrass on September 7, 2009 at 7:29 PM

…If insurers stop offering these Cadillac plans so as to avoid this tax, and people accept lesser plans, if that happens where does the money come from to pay for this govt plan? …

xkaydet65 on September 7, 2009 at 5:35 PM

My exact thought when Brit on FNC mentioned it. He also mentioned that it was the Unions with the Cadillac plans. It is going to be funny when the Unions get their plans cancelled because no insurance company will offer the options demanded in their Union contracts extortions.

barnone on September 7, 2009 at 7:30 PM

1982 called, they want their screencap of Max back.

Rusty Shackleford on September 7, 2009 at 7:37 PM

And then how do you plan to pay for the rest of your plan, Senator?

WWS on September 7, 2009 at 2:03 PM

You will. We all will. If one tax doesn’t work, da one will just tax something else – sunshine, air, trees.

Mangy Scot on September 7, 2009 at 7:44 PM

Get out the Deathmobile….we need to end this party NOW!

SmallGovtGuy on September 7, 2009 at 3:52 PM

I’ll do my part!

Can I have 10,000 marbles, please?

massrighty on September 7, 2009 at 7:55 PM

Can I have 10,000 marbles, please?

massrighty on September 7, 2009 at 7:55 PM

My advice to you is to drink heavily.

Mangy Scot on September 7, 2009 at 8:09 PM

Keemo on September 7, 2009 at 6:58 PM

Wow Keemo! You Big Sky people have got guts! Has Baucus responded yet?

yoda on September 7, 2009 at 8:32 PM

KILL ALL OF IT!

GarandFan on September 7, 2009 at 8:48 PM

My advice to you is to drink heavily.

Mangy Scot on September 7, 2009 at 8:09 PM

But, fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.

Thank God I’m not stupid!

massrighty on September 7, 2009 at 8:49 PM

Over on the “White House Source” thread, we’re also having an Animal House moment.

massrighty on September 7, 2009 at 9:01 PM

Where did Max get a plan from? He’s a former rancher from the middle of nowhere Montana and has been in the senate forever. He has about as much health insurance experience as little Tommy Daschle. Somebody else is writing or has rewritten a plan for him. The squirrels are busy collecting pine nuts here so it must be different critters.

Kissmygrits on September 7, 2009 at 9:01 PM

Reality is right under your nose Senator.

From the Kalispel, Mt. Regional Medical Center.
http://www.nwhc.org/nwhc/content/index.cfm?cm_id=603

“For Our Canadian Friends
When you have a health care need, you want access to services right away. At Northwest Healthcare, we understand that delays in treatment can be disheartening. That’s why we offer an array of health care services that may assist our Canadian neighbors in receiving timely quality treatment.”

diogenes on September 7, 2009 at 9:23 PM

It would be paid for, in part, by a new tax on health insurance companies that provide high-end “Cadillac” insurance plans, the source added.

Supporters of such a tax, initially proposed by Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry and other Democrats several weeks ago, say will it help curb the cost of health care by discouraging employers from offering such plans.


I’ll believe these people (congress critters) when they have paid BACK TAXES FOR TEN YEARS for their taxpayer funded health care.

And not one fucking minute before!

jackal40 on September 7, 2009 at 10:22 PM

dhunter on September 7, 2009 at 7:19 PM

Yep, it’s for real..

yoda on September 7, 2009 at 8:32 PM

Baucus won’t answer emails, nor will he answer his phone.

Keemo on September 7, 2009 at 11:10 PM

So, the plan is to allow private insurance to remain in effect.

Then create a set of conditions that the insurance companies must meet in order to avoid the so-called “public option”.

Then create a tax environment that, at the very least, would make it difficult to meet those conditions.

Once the private health insurance industry fails, the government would have no alternative than to nationalize the industry.

Do they think we are that stupid?

sleeper57 on September 7, 2009 at 11:26 PM

Keemo on September 7, 2009 at 11:10 PM

If Montana gets this recall going, there will be a domino effect in other states. 2010 will be an exciting year!!!! No special elections needed.

yoda on September 8, 2009 at 2:08 AM

Of course, the better way to proceed in curtailing the overuse of resources is to eliminate third-party payers from most medical care. When consumers have to pay for services and goods directly, pricing mechanisms keep the market from overuse as demand escalates price before it increases supply.

I don’t buy into this meme that resources are “over used”. Most people who have employer-based comprehensive insurance don’t have the time or inclination to spend their time in doctor’s offices for no freaking reason. Indeed, I betcha most men under-use health care.

For that reason, any reform should involve the end of tax breaks for comprehensive insurance policies and the encouragement of health-savings accounts (HSAs) along with the creation of catastrophic health insurance coverage that would be readily available to all for a much lower price.

HSAs are great if you can start them when you’re young and have years to build up a cushion, but people in their 50s would be unfairly penalized under such a plan – just as they begin to age and are more likely to require more medical care.

Buy Danish on September 8, 2009 at 8:40 AM

It’s still theft.

OldEnglish on September 8, 2009 at 8:56 AM

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, where does it state that the people we elected – apparently not statesmen but “bureaucrats” get to impose “Regressive Taxes” on us?

Dr Evil on September 8, 2009 at 9:00 AM

Throw the old bills away and start over one page at a time without any lobbyist and full disclosure and debate only after Bacus and every member of congress opts out of their plans and agrees to accept what is legislated for the rest of Americans.

Only when Congress agrees to accept the reform for themselves should anyone accept anything from these lying basterds.

bluegrass on September 8, 2009 at 9:09 AM

Again, we need to understand the basic functions of government and what governments real responsibility to U.S. is.

I am no longer surprised how politicians abuse the Commerce Clause, and twist the term ‘promote the general Welfare”. As a matter of fact when I listen to politicians speeches, or read bills I look to see if they are twisting the terms and begin to examine their true intentions.

MSGTAS on September 8, 2009 at 10:22 AM

I read today that the union healthcare plans are “cadillac”. Will they be taxed?

ctmom on September 8, 2009 at 10:54 AM

On Fox and Friends this morning, the hosts were saying that the Baucus plan would increase demands on Medicaid, which is financed by STATES. They stressed that 48 out of 50 states were running deficits this year, and that Porkulus money to the states would run out in 2010, so that the Baucus plan would probably result in massive STATE tax increases in 2011.

This is a classic case of an “unfunded mandate”–the Federal Government imposing requirements on states and making the states pay for them–so that voters will blame their Governors and State legislators for what the Federal Government forces on them. Since the increased State taxes won’t hit the taxpayers until 2011, voters with short memories may not make the connection, and House members up for re-election in 2010 won’t have to worry until 2012.

This is the perfect bait-and-switch: the Federal Government giveth and the State Government taketh away and getteth blamed for it, two years later! But Governors (of both parties) interested in staying in office beyond 2011 will obviously object–will they step up to the plate and explain the impacts of the Baucus plan on their States and their taxpayers?

Steve Z on September 8, 2009 at 11:09 AM

Do they think we are that stupid?

sleeper57 on September 7, 2009 at 11:26 PM

Did you see who we handed all the keys to in the last election? They do think we’re that stupid. And they’re right.

runawayyyy on September 8, 2009 at 4:49 PM

sleeper57 on September 7, 2009 at 11:26 PM

Sadly enough they would be right as a general rule. Remember, this is the candidate that 70% of all high school dropouts voted for.

Nationally speaking, the cancer of stupidity has spread far and wide.

Dark-Star on September 8, 2009 at 5:34 PM

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