Healthcare reform. Is Baucus Bill Bitter Pill?

Senator Max Baucus recently dropped his version of health care reform on the American people. Since then, progressives say it hasn’t gone far enough to make health care affordable to enough people, and conservatives say it costs too much money. With my feet planted firmly in the camp of the former, I have to say I’m not happy.

Any health care reform that doesn’t include a public option isn’t real reform as far as I’m concerned.

But that’s just me. Even without the option, which isn’t in Baucus’s bill, the question of whether it will make health insurance affordable to hard working, money strapped Americans remains. As we take a hard look at that, here are a few things to consider.

Max Baucus
Senator Max Baucus

The Baucus Bill would attempt to subsidize coverage for low and moderate income workers who aren’t covered by their employer. It would do this by creating exchanges, where workers could shop for rates that would vary by income. However, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that by 2016 (not that far off), a family of four earning $78,000 a year would be paying $15,300 a year for insurance, including premiums and deductibles.

That works out to $1275 bucks a month, or 20% of a family’s income. That means if that same family was paying 25% of their income for housing, either by mortgage or rent, nearly half their income would go to insurance and housing. Sound affordable to you? And this is what is being proposed as a cost effective alternative to a public option.

Something’s wrong here.

Yet the question is whether this bill is better than no bill at all. No less an expert than Paul Krugman writes in the New York Times that it may be a decent starting point.

Krugman favors single payer just like I do, but his column summarizes the collective dilemma of progressives. How bad is too bad? Krugman points out three big flaws in the Baucus plan, one of which is the bait and switch “exchange” plan in place of a public option.

Paul Krugman argues the Baucus plan can be fixed, if congressional progressives and the White House have the guts to make it happen.

Quite frankly, the Obama Administration has been sending mixed signals about whether they’ll back a plan with no public option. It’s time for the President to get off the dime and spend a little political capital. Health care reform that costs more than a thousand dollars a month for working people isn’t reform at all.

But you tell me. From what you know about the Baucus bill, can it be fixed to make health care affordable to most Americans?
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3 thoughts on “Healthcare reform. Is Baucus Bill Bitter Pill?”

  1. These politicians just really have no concept of reality for most Americans.
    My story is very typical. I live in a rural area, in a small town. The average wage is around $28,000 here.
    I was ‘downsized’ with the economy. I got severance and also a nice letter of recommendation, yet have still been looking since February. I have applied for anything and everything…managed to get ONE INTERVIEW.
    I don’t DARE go to the doctor, I’m uninsured. If I go they will find something ‘pre-existing’ and I’ll be S.O.L. for life.
    My wife and daughter have gotten some coverage from the state, but me, the SOLE ‘breadwinner’, I don’t qualify for anything, zero, nuttin’!

    I’m 49 years old, over-qualified for unskilled labor, and under qualified for other jobs.

    The ONLY REAL solution for this country would be SINGLE PAYER. Half-measures will avail us nothing!

    Do we want Canadian style care? HELL YES!

    Now here’s the dilemma, people like my father owe their very lives to ‘socialized’ medicine. That is, medicare, and especially the VA. The VA has been wonderful.
    Yet, roll around election time, he will once again vote against the very type of benefits that he recieves. Republican, of course. And there are so many millions just like him. They collect social security, medicare, veterans benefits, stc, and hate Obama for being a socialist!
    .-= sekanblogger´s last blog ..PRISONER OF THE JAPANESE =-.

  2. ATTENTION!! Congress Has The Votes Needed To Pass A Public Option – TODAY

    Why A Strong Public Option Is Essential – By jacksmith – Working Class

    Robert Reich explains the pubic option:

    John Garamendi on the Public Option and the Grassroots:

    It’s not just because more than two thirds of the American people want a single payer health care system. And if they cant have a single payer system 77% of all Americans want a strong government-run public option on day one (86% of democrats, 75% of independents, and 72% republicans). Basically everyone.

    It’s not just because according to a new AARP POLL: 86 percent of seniors want universal healthcare security for All, including 93% of Democrats, 87% of Independents, and 78% of Republicans. With 79% of seniors supporting creating a new strong Government-run public option plan, available immediately. Including 89% of Democrats, 80% of Independents, and 61% of Republicans, STUNNING!!

    It’s not just because it will lower cost. Because a strong public option will dramatically lower cost for everyone. And dramatically improved the quality of care everyone receives in America and around the World. Rich, middle class, and poor a like.

    It’s not just because it will save trillions of dollars and prevent the needless deaths of millions more of YOU, caused by a rush to profit by the DISGRACEFUL, GREED DRIVEN, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX!

    It’s not just because every expert in every field, including economist, and Nobel laureates all agree that free market based healthcare systems don’t work. Never have and never will. The US has the only truly free market based healthcare system in the World. And as you all know now, IT IS A DISASTER!

    It’s not just because providing or denying medically necessary care for profit motivations is wrong. Because it is WRONG! It’s professionally, ethically, and morally REPUGNANT!, Animalistic, VILE and EVIL.


    The public option is ESSENTIAL because over 200 million of you are trapped in the forest of the wolves. Which is the forest of the DISGRACEFUL, GREED DRIVEN, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX! With no way out except through needless inhumane suffering, and DEATH. While the wolves tear at your flesh, and rip you limb from lib. Then feast on your lifeless bodies like a dead carcase for transplant parts.

    At the most vulnerable times of your lives (when you were sick and hurting), millions of you have had to fight and loose cruel, but heroic battles. Fighting against the big guns of the DISGRACEFUL, GREED DRIVEN, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX! in the forest of the wolves. All because you have no place else to go. You have no other CHOICE!

    But the PUBLIC OPTION will give you someplace safe to go. And it will give us someplace safe to take you. The public option will be your refugium (your refuge). Where the wolves cannot get at you when your down, hurting, and vulnerable. Where everyone who needs it can find rest, security, comfort and the care they need. Protected by the BIG GUNS of We The People Of The United States. THE MOST POWERFUL PEOPLE AND COUNTRY ON EARTH.

    This is why it is so critical that we do not lead another 50 million vulnerable, uninsured Americans into the forest of the wolves, without the protections of a Strong Government-run public option. We The People Of The United States MUST NOT LET THAT HAPPEN to any more of our fellow Americans. If healthcare reform does not contain a strong public option on day one. YOU MUST! KILL IT. Or you will do far more harm than good. And millions more will die needlessly. Rich, middle class, and poor a like.

    To those who would continue to obstruct good and true healthcare reform for the American people, and who seek to trap millions more vulnerable Americans in the forest of the wolves. We will continue to fight you. We are prepared to wage all out war against you, and will eagerly DESTROY! you. Time…is…UP! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED! No Co-op’s! No Triggers! NO INDIVIDUAL MANDATES! without a Strong public option on day one.

    Healthcare reform can be the GREATEST! Accomplishment of our time and century. A time when future generations may say of us, that we were all, AMERICAS GREATEST GENERATIONS.


    I therefore call on all my fellow Americans and the peoples of the World. To join us in this fight so that we may finish becoming the better America that we aspire to be for everyone.


    I have been privileged to be witness as many of you fought, and struggled to take your first breath, and your last breath on this earth. Rich, middle class, and poor a like. Life is precious.

    Whatever the cost. WE! MUST SUCCEED.

    God Bless You My Fellow Human Beings

    jacksmith – Working Class

    Things You Can Do To Help NOW!

    No Triggers!


    Krugman on heathcare (

    Senator Bernie Sanders on healthcare (

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