Conservative Blog post for September 17
The Baucus Health Care Plan – Launching the Democrat vs. Democrat Fight
Senator Max Baucus (d-MT) revealed an $856 billion health care reform plan of his own today after months of discussions with Republicans failed to produce reforms radical enough for Democrats. Baucus really screwed up the Democrat’s assault on health care by revealing this proposal though. All the false momentum that the President, the media and his harder left supporters thought they had, evaporated as Baucus broke ranks and presented his own policy without the key public option.
Baucus probably thought he was doing Democrats a great favor. In fact, he probably did by saving them from a true electoral nightmare should the public option become law. Still, Washington Democrats are quietly expressing their feelings of betrayal. Without 60 votes in the Senate for the public option, the only hope for this monstrosity would be to pass it though a budget reconciliation process. In what would amount to nothing short of a declaration of war with Senate Republicans, Baucus seems to be against the back-door method of passage. Thus he felt compelled to at least come up with something on his own.
Like all things that Democrats come up with, the Baucus health care proposal has already brought about several unintended consequences, including:
Stealing the Spotlight - Friends of the President were inspired last week when the Chosen One appeared willing to fight for ruining American health care by creating a public insurance ‘option’ that would quickly be the only coverage available. Baucus rolled out his proposal and promptly got on CNN, MSNBC and stole attention from the Obama Show. The networks dread putting Mad Max on television though because he is quite possibly the most boring spokesperson for any cause there is.
When it became clear that the Baucus proposal contained no public option, Democrats were seriously disappointed. Now that the Prez committed to the public option to appease his Union and radical supporters, the good Senator shot it down from within. That at least is a good thing. Getting it put back will require a Democrat vs. Democrat fight. That is also a good thing.
Turning public attention to the cost – Democrats have been avoiding the cost issue like the plague. While the President insists that His plan would not add one dime to the deficit – at least for the first two years while no services were being paid for – all other reasonable folks from the Congressional Budget Office on down have been coming up with astronomical figures as to what this is likely to cost. Baucus came right out and hung an $856 billion price tag on his proposal, with taxes to pay for it. This takes away the ability to insist that a much more radical overhaul of health care (especially the public option) can reasonably be done with no deficit impact.
Returning attention to individual responsibility – Democrats absolutely hate this discussion too. Irresponsible individuals, who choose not to purchase insurance even though they can afford it, would be required to buy in. Democrats hate making anyone buy something… they don’t mind taking people’s money for themselves, but making people be responsible for their own well being just doesn’t seem right. Besides, individual responsibility frees the masses from state control over their lives.
Decreased the chances of enacting health care takeover via ‘Reconciliation’ - Since it is Baucus’ committee that would have to execute the move to declare a takeover of health care as a budget item, the administration has been put on notice that Baucus won’t be a part of desecrating Senate rules. If the good Senator was okay with using reconciliation, he wouldn’t have bothered to write out his own plan. Obama has to come up with some real plum for the Montana Senator to compel him to reconsider.
Deflating the ridiculous notion that race is a meaningful part of this debate - When former peanut farmer and President Jimmy Carter opined that those that objected to the Obama plan were in fact racists, he really didn’t think that Baucus would be considered among them. Democrats have always reserved the charge of racism as being valid only when levied against Republicans, but Carter made such a blanket accusation (and he wasn’t referring only to those who spoke out at town hall meetings) that the good Senator must be included in Carter’s classification of who is against the President’ plan. Of course Senator Baucus is no racist and neither are the town hall and tea party participants.
In the end, Senator Baucus has unwittingly derailed the drive to take over one sixth of the American economy. Obama will have to come up with another publicity stunt or some kind of speech before a joint session of the world to reclaim momentum for the public option. If the President is a skilled politician, He will use the excuse that He can’t get Democrat support to force the public option through the Senate. His radical supporters won’t accept this for a second though and will put the President right back in the vise. It will be spectacularly fun to watch the coming Democrat vs. Democrat battle!