This is interesting. Apparently the people of Montana, or at least those interested enough in health care to attend bogus meetings with Montana Senator Max Baucus, are not happy with the representation they’re getting on the issue from their senior senator. They turned out for “town hall meetings” in which Baucus appeared only on pre-taped video, leaving his hapless aides to take the heat from the voters. Apparently, they prefer the single payer option. You know, the sensible medical system that saves us all a ton of money by bypassing the insurance companies.
At one meeting, his aide, Jon Selib, argued that employer based plans are very popular, but you couldn’t prove that by the people in the room.
Baucus, as the head of the Finance Committee, has a lot to say about the shape of health care. Single payer is, in fact, out of the question. Too many palms, including Baucus’s, have been greased by the insurance companies for the sensible solution to be considered. Baucus has refused, until just recently, to even meet with single payer advocates.
What’s interesting, though, is that Selib said this, as he cowered before the crowd:
“If you think your insurance company is screwing you … then you’d have the option of going to the public plan,” Selib said. “Senator Baucus is fighting tooth and nail to include that in any final deal.”
In fact, Baucus has hitherto been fighting tooth and nail to exclude the public plan from the program, though he’s been under increasing pressure to change that position. He’s deathly afraid of doing unto Republicans what they did unto him-use the reconciliation process. Better to screw 300 million Americans than upset 40 insane Republicans. In truth, his aversion to the reconciliation process might just be a cover for his desire to serve the interests of the insurance companies.
What’s important is that Baucus seems to be coming around on the public option. In a rational world, this would be considered a half ass measure, but in the land of the free and the home of the brave, it’s the only way to arrive at the single payer system. Properly done, a public option will drive the private folks out of business. The “properly done” part is a huge caveat, but if it passes quickly, Obama will have almost seven years to get it established, and build up a base of support with which the Republican who succeeds him may not wish to tamper. If Baucus is going to stop the obstruction then it just might get done.