Max “Train Wreck” Baucus on ObamaCare: If Humpty Dumpty can’t be fixed soon, we might have to delay the mandate

posted at 4:01 pm on November 1, 2013 by Allahpundit

Amazing words from the man who’s often described as the “architect” of the giant health-care fartburger that’s now landed on America’s plate. Contrary to popular belief, he didn’t call ObamaCare itself a “train wreck” back in the spring; his point at the time was that the law’s success depended upon convincing young, healthy, middle-class people to sign up. If HHS did that, everything would be grand. If they didn’t, it’d be a train wreck due to adverse selection: Insurers would be stuck with an influx of sick people signing up and no way to pay for it without healthy people handing over their premium money each month. The train wreck was conditional.

Six months later, he’s starting to see the train lights in the distance. What’s amazing about this clip is that Baucus, as “architect” of the law, surely understands as well as anyone that delaying the mandate would increase the risk of a wreck — and yet here he is, casually tossing the idea out there. No wonder insurers are getting fidgety:

The health care law essentially strikes a deal with insurance companies: They are required to cover people with preexisting conditions, and they can’t charge people more based on those conditions. Both of those policies will cost insurers money—potentially, a lot of it. So the law also includes three tools to minimize their financial risks: the individual mandate; subsidies to help people afford insurance; and a defined window to buy coverage.

If lawmakers start fiddling with those incentives, the equation gets worse for insurers. There are minor changes that the industry could probably weather, maybe easily. But just the idea of weakening those safeguards is enough to make insurers nervous. A handful of states tried in the 1990s to enforce guaranteed coverage, but without the safeguards that Obamacare includes for insurers. Premiums in those states skyrocketed, growing by double digits each year until they were so expensive that the reforms ended up increasing the number of uninsured people…

Although it sounds like a minor adjustment, the fact that there’s a defined open-enrollment period is a big deal for insurance companies. Extending the window would be “destabilizing” for insurers, Zirkelbach said.

Their primary goal is to cover as many people as possible who won’t file big claims. It’s the defined enrollment window, not the individual mandate, that prevents people from waiting to sign up for insurance until they’re on their way to the emergency room. So extending the window could make it easier for young, healthy people to go without insurance until they absolutely need it. “If these vital enrollment incentives were to change, the premiums health plans filed for next year would have to increase,” Zirkelbach said.

If the premiums next year increase so much that healthy people with insurance decide it’s cheaper to drop their coverage and just pay the fine instead, then voila — you’ve got your first downward turn in the fabled industry death spiral. And here’s Baucus, hinting that he might vote for a mandate delay a few months from now that would make that more likely. Even more amazing, he has nothing to gain personally from pushing delay. He announced months ago that he’s retiring at the end of this term so, unlike other red-state Dems like Pryor, Landrieu, et al, he doesn’t have to worry about being tossed out on his ear by angry voters in an anti-ObamaCare backlash. Given his role in crafting the law and his unaccountability to voters, he’s actually perfectly positioned to be the White House’s Senate point man in explaining that delay is potentially very bad and that such things shouldn’t even be spoken of until months have passed and it’s the only option left. As it is, he’s helping to mainstream the idea of delay by floating it as a possibility, which not only puts Obama in a tougher spot later but gives the GOP a foothold in arguing that the whole law should be put off so as to minimize the adverse selection problem. Mystifying. And proof, I guess, of just how toxic ObamaCare’s suddenly become. Even a guy who has no reason to distance himself from it is inching away.


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Another cult follower…

PatriotRider on November 1, 2013 at 4:05 PM

You can’t fit this nose into any box.

Schadenfreude on November 1, 2013 at 4:05 PM

The closer it gets to the primaries, the more likely the dems will abandon ship…

right2bright on November 1, 2013 at 4:07 PM

Remember it was the “Baucus bill” that ultimately passed into law as Obamacare. When this Baucus bill first surfaced, Howard Dean said it was “the worst piece of legislation to come out of the senate in a generation.” Now the Baucus bill is law.

anotherJoe on November 1, 2013 at 4:07 PM

Too optimistic but still incredibly schadenfreudig

Schadenfreude on November 1, 2013 at 4:08 PM

NO DELAYS!!! LET THEM EAT IT, SINCE THEY OWN IT.

Rovin on November 1, 2013 at 4:08 PM

AP, thank you for calling it “ObamaCare” when Carney and obama have stopped.

They own it, in full, 100%, exclusively, forever.

Schadenfreude on November 1, 2013 at 4:09 PM

And proof, I guess, of just how toxic ObamaCare’s suddenly become. Even a guy who has no reason to distance himself from it is inching away.

Maybe he is the last/only honest leftist.

Schadenfreude on November 1, 2013 at 4:11 PM

AP, thank you for calling it “ObamaCare” when Carney and obama have stopped.

They own it, in full, 100%, exclusively, forever.

Schadenfreude on November 1, 2013 at 4:09 PM

We often complain about the Democrat/media complex’s power when it comes to crafting narratives, but damn if we didn’t make that Obamacare nickname stick. Aside from Democrat politicians and their spokepeople, everyone uses it now.

Doughboy on November 1, 2013 at 4:11 PM

“Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job” — GWB, presciently predicting obama’s legacy

Schadenfreude, pure!!!

Schadenfreude on November 1, 2013 at 4:12 PM

which not only puts Obama in a tougher spot later but gives the GOP a foothold in arguing that the whole law should be put off so as to minimize the adverse selection problem. Mystifying.

Perhaps the thought of going back home to live with the people who are being hurt by O-care has had an impact on his calculus. Imagine that.

RightKlik on November 1, 2013 at 4:13 PM

Poll: 71% Think Obama Knew Beforehand Obamacare Would Jack Up Health Care Premiums Before Law Was Implemented…

Via Washington Secrets:

A new poll finds that most Americans believe that President Obama and his health care team knew well in advance that insurance costs would surge despite his promises they wouldn’t, and as a result 40 percent want Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to retire or be fired.

Rasmussen Reports found that 71 percent of voters believe “it’s at least somewhat likely that President Obama or senior officials in his administration were aware long before the law began being implemented that health insurance costs would go up for some Americans.”

Worse for the president: Only 18 percent want Obamacare to move on unchanged, while 43 percent want it repealed and the process started over and another 35 percent want Congress to fix it in a piecemeal fashion.

Resist We Much on November 1, 2013 at 4:13 PM

I have no sympathy for these guys. They’re gonna take a huge hit in next year’s elections and they’re in a complete panic over it. And the bad part for them is that anything they do now is only going to make it worse…

Sucks to be a Democrat.

PetecminMd on November 1, 2013 at 4:13 PM

“If you like your president…” — obama 2016

The sheepleton fell for it.

Actions have consequences. May he destroy all.

There is NO mandate in all the world, not even in Russia/China.

obama’care’, the beyond-communist version of health’care’ exists exclusively in the US.

Schadenfreude on November 1, 2013 at 4:13 PM

Landrieu and Pryor, laughing at you…die a slow political death…is way beyond what kind of schadenfreude s/b allowed.

Schadenfreude on November 1, 2013 at 4:14 PM

Maybe he is the last/only honest leftist.

Schadenfreude on November 1, 2013 at 4:11 PM

HAHAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAHAHAHAHAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

MontanaMmmm on November 1, 2013 at 4:16 PM

Schadenfreude beyond pure…the why he spoke.

Schadenfreude on November 1, 2013 at 4:16 PM

McAuliffe is paying for this mess in VA…latest poll has him only with a 2 point lead…

PatriotRider on November 1, 2013 at 4:17 PM

AP, thank you for calling it “ObamaCare” when Carney and obama have stopped.

They own it, in full, 100%, exclusively, forever.

I like ‘Demo-Care’ too. Refers to Democrats and Demolition in one fell swoop.

LetsBfrank on November 1, 2013 at 4:17 PM

This is what the democrats wanted – a way to kill private health insurance – all is going according to plan – except the American people don’t want socialism if THEY have to pay for it.

What is a lib to do these days?

Maybe if they don’t REALLY want socialism – maybe they should quit voting for democrats?

All you libs out there – let that sink into your pea brains for a minute.

It is because of liberals that we have ObamaCare. If you don’t want to pay for it – then quit voting period!

redguy on November 1, 2013 at 4:17 PM

This is what happens when people who have always signed the back of a check all their lives get to make policy for the rest of us who work for a living .

burrata on November 1, 2013 at 4:18 PM

Sick pocket bulging by the thugs in DC

Schadenfreude on November 1, 2013 at 4:18 PM

Comes out on Nov. 5th.

Schadenfreude on November 1, 2013 at 4:19 PM

Ha-ha

DRAMA: McAuliffe Warns He Could Lose…

Poll: McAuliffe 42, Cuccinelli 40…

Drudge..that w/b something. Indies, wake up!!!

Schadenfreude on November 1, 2013 at 4:19 PM

I thought they had already postponed the mandate. I swear I can keep up with all this garbage, which is probably the goal.

Cindy Munford on November 1, 2013 at 4:19 PM

How does delaying the mandate help the tens of millions that have had their insurance canceled?

How?

jukin3 on November 1, 2013 at 4:20 PM

Baucus bill first surfaced, Howard Dean said it was “the worst piece of legislation to come out of the senate in a generation.” Now the Baucus bill is law.

anotherJoe on November 1, 2013 at 4:07 PM

recall the context of that quote was Howard Dean wanted to go straight to single payer and felt this was a terrible compromise

DanMan on November 1, 2013 at 4:22 PM

Delay it! But that’s what those anarchist tea party terrorists want to do! It Is The Law!

gwelf on November 1, 2013 at 4:23 PM

No wonder insurers are getting fidgety:

Well, when you consort with fascists…

gwelf on November 1, 2013 at 4:27 PM

McAuliffe is paying for this mess in VA…latest poll has him only with a 2 point lead…

PatriotRider on November 1, 2013 at 4:17 PM

What’s infuriating is that the fake Libertarian candidate is siphoning off about 9% in the polls right now. I hope right-leaning voters break for Cuccinelli on Election Day.

Doughboy on November 1, 2013 at 4:27 PM

First of all, Baucus isn’t the architect, he was just the messenger. Someone else wrote the bill.

Second, he doesn’t care about the death spiral…. All he cares about is his cush lobbying job waiting for him in Jan 2014 with Tom Daschle. That’s where the real money is, boys.

Running for the exit as fast as he can. Dirty coward.

elowe on November 1, 2013 at 4:27 PM

Obama won’t need congressional approval to delay the mandate, he’ll do it illegally and unilaterally. If he approaches the GOP to help him, they should refuse any such assistance until Obama, Reid, and Pelosi individually and publicly renounce every nasty word said against the House, Ted Cruz, the GOP, et.al. This will never happen, so McConnell and Boehner can talk a good game, but no one in the GOP should lift a finger to bail them out.

Which birngs us then to Obama acting unilaterally. The insurance companies, aka traitors and professional whores whom Lenin predicted would braid the rope used to hang themselves, are about the find out they are dealing with the world’s greatest charlatan whose every statement has an expiration date. And he will gleefully use the MSM to revile them.

And the media handmaidens will gleefully assist.

I hope the entire monstrosity crashes.

matthew8787 on November 1, 2013 at 4:28 PM

What the Dems at some point are going to try to do is say that not only will the more affluent have to have the same govt health insurance as the very poor, but the affluent will have to pay a lot more for that insurance. If you have a lot of income or assets, your bad health insurance is going to cost you an arm and a leg, and you have to buy it. You may or may not be able to shop outside of your insurance for healthcare services. The Dems will try to outlaw this option. The Dems want everybody to be subjected to the same terrible medical care and rationing panels regardless of income. Well, with some exceptions, like for congress.

anotherJoe on November 1, 2013 at 4:29 PM

The health care law essentially strikes a deal with insurance companies

Just like the scorpion essentially struck a deal with the toad.

calbear on November 1, 2013 at 4:29 PM

If only I were this bright, I too could run as a demorat.

Bishop on November 1, 2013 at 4:29 PM

Hit the link and listen as you read the blurb it will set the tone, then find the nearest porcelain god.

I talk to the
Trees.

WASHINGTON — Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) is really happy about retiring from the Senate. So happy, in fact, that he’s turning to poetry to explain the deep calling he felt to step down.

“It whispered to me among the elk resting in a meadow east of the Bridger Mountains,” Baucus wrote in a Great Falls Tribune op-ed published late Thursday.

“I heard it as thousands of snow geese flew over the Rocky Mountain Front.”

“The pull came up from my soul like the ducks that rose in clouds from the winter wheat fields of Teton County at dusk.”

Baucus, the chair of the Senate Finance Committee, has long had a penchant for literary or historical references. Just this week, his opening remarks in a hearing on trade policy included an anecdote about Thomas Jefferson’s purchase of Louisiana, and he began another hearing on the foster care system with a quote by Winston Churchill about the “virtues of human society.”

A Baucus spokesperson later told The Huffington Post the senator has always appreciated literature, in part because his mother was an author and a patron of the arts.

“As many folks know from Max’s tradition of beginning speeches with quotes, he has a love for literature and history and always tries to paint a picture with words –- which comes through most clearly when he’s describing how he feels at home in Montana,” said the spokeswoman.

MontanaMmmm on November 1, 2013 at 4:29 PM

Cindy Munford on November 1, 2013 at 4:19 PM

I think originally you had to be insured by 1st of March. You would of had to enroll by Feb.15 to make sure you were insured without a penalty. They have now extended enrollment to end of March without a penalty. At least, I think this is right.

Barred on November 1, 2013 at 4:30 PM

His relatives all bought a copy.

gerrym51 on November 1, 2013 at 4:30 PM

MontanaMmmm on November 1, 2013 at 4:29 PM

-I once knew a senator from Montana

-He was an asshole.

That’s all I’ve got.

Bishop on November 1, 2013 at 4:31 PM

MontanaMmmm on November 1, 2013 at 4:29 PM

-I once knew a senator from Montana

-He was an azshole.

That’s all I’ve got.

Bishop on November 1, 2013 at 4:32 PM

So let me get this straight. We’re going to delay the mandate, but go ahead with the exchanges and the coverage of the previously un-coveragable. I don’t see how this is an improvement, since it only aids the death spiral. Yellen is going to need a whole battalion of helicopters to cover this.

DFCtomm on November 1, 2013 at 4:32 PM

… we might have to delay the mandate …

HOW does this help the tens of millions of people who are LOSING their coverage?

The lie of the socialist Democratic party was that this was being changed to insure tens of millions. Now, the REALITY is that tens of millions are LOSING their insurance!

Freddy on November 1, 2013 at 4:38 PM

That’s all I’ve got.

Bishop on November 1, 2013 at 4:32 PM

Works for me. :>

MontanaMmmm on November 1, 2013 at 4:40 PM

AP, thank you for calling it “ObamaCare” when Carney and obama have stopped.

They own it, in full, 100%, exclusively, forever.

Schadenfreude on November 1, 2013 at 4:09 PM

We often complain about the Democrat/media complex’s power when it comes to crafting narratives, but damn if we didn’t make that Obamacare nickname stick. Aside from Democrat politicians and their spokepeople, everyone uses it now.

Doughboy on November 1, 2013 at 4:11 PM

I dunno, I think John Roberts-care has a nice ring to it.

Rich H on November 1, 2013 at 4:41 PM

Bill Ayers New Book Bombs Despite Support From MSNBC, Sells Only 467 Copies During First Two Weeks…

Feel good story of the day.

Resist We Much on November 1, 2013 at 4:20 PM

Hey now, 467 is still probably more than signed up for Obamacare.

monalisa on November 1, 2013 at 4:42 PM

Barred on November 1, 2013 at 4:30 PM

The end of March is what I have been hearing also. Not much of an extension, Big Whoop.

Cindy Munford on November 1, 2013 at 4:42 PM

I don’t see how this is an improvement, since it only aids the death spiral. Yellen is going to need a whole battalion of helicopters to cover this.

DFCtomm on November 1, 2013 at 4:32 PM

You are assuming here that Hussein wants an improvement ,
he doesn’t,never did.
If it hurts American people, he will do it.
This is another crisis he created and he won’t let it go to waste.

burrata on November 1, 2013 at 4:45 PM

What happens if the entire law is put off at this point? All these people with no cancellation notices don’t have to buy insurance next year if we don’t want to? Which will be grand, because we won’t be able to buy insurance next year if we do want to either.

besser tot als rot on November 1, 2013 at 4:45 PM

When he said train wreck he was thinking the Cassandra Crossing…….his arse is jumping off the train.

David in ATL on November 1, 2013 at 5:10 PM

Someone needs to tell Baucus “its the law” doncha know.

neyney on November 1, 2013 at 5:16 PM

Have to laugh at Juan Williams on The Five trying to defend Obamacare and the website rollout for his bro in the White House. He thinks yelling at the top of his lungs makes him right.

Meanwhile the rest of the panel squashes every absurd point he tries to make, with a calm, collective and confident voice – citing facts as opposed to blabbing out stale talking points.

Token fool.

fogw on November 1, 2013 at 5:19 PM

Max, baby, “..insurance companies: They are required to cover people with preexisting conditions, and they can’t charge people more based on those conditions”. We are getting charged more. Mine is doubling come July 2014 during the sign up period. You lying sac ‘o $hiite.

jake49 on November 1, 2013 at 5:23 PM

Delaying the individual mandate won’t do anything to help those losing health insurance because of ObamaCare. They will be hung out to dry with no alternatives. Very sad situation. And it is a disaster in the making for Democrats, and a bigger problem for the citizens losing coverage.

It will get worse in 2014 when the employer mandate kicks in an the same problems with no real grandfathering.

Dasher on November 1, 2013 at 5:25 PM

Bill Ayers New Book Bombs Despite Support From MSNBC, Sells Only 467 Copies During First Two Weeks…

Feel good story of the day.

Resist We Much on November 1, 2013 at 4:20 PM

But Rush’s new children’s book Rush Revere rush rush rushes to the top! BTW, it’s great! Just finished chapter 4 and my kids wanted me to keep reading.

txhsmom on November 1, 2013 at 5:26 PM

The folks I know who’ve had their policies cancelled are going to medishare. They got a better plan that costs less, with a lower deductible. They won’t be the only ones. The insurance companies made a bad move helping foist this on America.

txhsmom on November 1, 2013 at 5:29 PM

If the insurance companies are looking for sympathy, I’d be more than happy to tell them where to find it in the dictionary.

Those bastards made a deal with King Barack. Let ‘em go down the drain.

No more “health insurance” then just watch medical rates drop.

GarandFan on November 1, 2013 at 6:32 PM

“As many folks know from Max’s tradition of beginning speeches with quotes, he has a love for literature and history and always tries to paint a picture with words –- which comes through most clearly when he’s describing how he feels at home in Montana,” said the spokeswoman.

MontanaMmmm on November 1, 2013 at 4:29 PM

Maybe he can write poetry on gay cowboys with Harry Reid after the latter retires.

Is there any chance of getting former Governor Mark Racicot to run for Baucus’ seat? Back in 2002, he didn’t want to leave his kids for Washington, but his kids are older now, and the rest of the country needs him in the Senate!

Steve Z on November 1, 2013 at 6:39 PM

Do not allow them to delay. They were offered that option and they not only turned it down but used it to smack Republicans. Let them chew on this trainwreck.

dominigan on November 1, 2013 at 6:59 PM

Steve Z on November 1, 2013 at 6:39 PM

Racicot is a confirmed thanks but no thanks.

MontanaMmmm on November 1, 2013 at 7:20 PM

…he’s a POS!

KOOLAID2 on November 1, 2013 at 8:01 PM

Eat it, Donks. No more delays. Get out of the way and let the train wreck happen.

People I know who have been canceled are seeing their plan costs and deductibles double and triple. They made the mistake of working hard for a living and succeeding, and this was their punishment.

Midterms are going to be brutal. Hahahahahahahha!

Philly on November 1, 2013 at 8:16 PM

Now the Baucus bill is law.

anotherJoe on November 1, 2013 at 4:07 PM

Not just law, but ‘settled law’. Too bad, but that means it would be impious to change it.

PersonFromPorlock on November 1, 2013 at 8:31 PM

In the shuffling madness
Of the locomotive breath,
Runs the all-time loser,
Headlong to his death.
He feels the piston scraping –
Steam breaking on his brow –
Old Charlie stole the handle and
The train won’t stop going –
No way to slow down.
He sees his children jumping off
At the stations — one by one.
His woman and his best friend –
In bed and having fun.
He’s crawling down the corridor
On his hands and knees –
Old Charlie stole the handle and
The train won’t stop going –
No way to slow down.
He hears the silence howling –
Catches angels as they fall.
And the all-time winner
Has got him by the balls.
He picks up Gideon’s Bible –
Open at page one –
God stole the handle and
The train won’t stop going –
No way to slow down.

—Ian Anderson

claudius on November 2, 2013 at 9:53 AM

Question: How does delaying the mandate help anyone if their insurance was already canceled. Or the fact that the insurance must still meet ObamaCare regulations.

Dasher on November 2, 2013 at 4:07 PM