Wow, This Just Gets Worse And Worse
New details emerged today on that Baucus caucus draft.
The proposal from the lawmaker, Senator Max Baucus, who heads the Finance Committee, would impose new fees on some sectors of the health care industry, but none on individuals, to help offset initial costs estimated at $880 billion over 10 years, according to officials familiar with the outline.
The plan, circulating among some committee members of both parties, would also offer the option of lower-cost insurance, with protection only against the costs of catastrophic illnesses, to those 25 and younger. In addition, it would provide basic Medicaid coverage to millions of low-income people who are currently ineligible for the program, but the benefits would be less comprehensive than standard Medicaid.
I don't even see how such a bill could pass the Finance Committee. Is Jay Rockefeller going to go along with two-tiered Medicaid? What about the non-coverage coverage to those 25 and younger? And of course, that is aside from the weak co-op substitute for the public option. Also, considering how high a percentage of covered expenses Baucus is allowing insurance companies to pass on to the consumer, I would argue that ALL the coverage is catastrophic coverage. To make a profit in a more regulated environment, insurers will cover less and charge more. There's very little in the Baucus draft to stop that, as far as I can see.
The President is vowing to make specific his desires in health care reform in his speech tomorrow night. We'll see if he uses the Baucus plan to deliver lower-quality health insurance to every American as his template.
...on the point of it passing the Finance Committee, Brian Beutler reports they'll vote it out, so they can leave the committee behind and change it on the Senate floor and in conference. I don't have a ton of faith in their ability to do that.