Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Closer Look At Guy In Charge of Healthcare in the Senate

Right now the Senate's healthcare debate is pretty much being handled in the Senate Finance Committee, which has recently brought in a panel of "healthcare experts" (overwhelmingly private insurance flacks) to testify about what they think ideal healthcare reform would look like (unsurprisingly, "single payer" did not come up, prompting audience members to protest).

Let's have a closer look at the Committee's chairman, Max Baucus. According to data from (run by the Center for Responsive Politics, the nonpartisan, respected money tracker), Baucus has received more Wall Street dollars than he has money from his own state of Montana. The health sector, meanwhile, ranks right behind the financial sector in dollars to Baucus, coming in at $2.8 million during his career.

Unsurprisingly Baucus has said that a single-payer healthcare system -- a national healthcare system based on Medicare, which most Americans in the country repeatedly say in polls they would support -- is off the table. Well, yeah. That's because Baucus gets more from HMO's every year than he does from the US Treasury.

Baucus has carved out two positions on healthcare: one, that it could be done without offering a public, Medicare-style plan to the public at all (a lie). And two, he suggested that we all be required to buy into private insurance (a gigantic windfall to the industry).

My question is this: is it possible that we can get meaningful universal healthcare in this country and not just gigantic giveaways to wasteful, greedy private insurance companies? Or are we stuck with this nonsense until we fix our broken campaign finance system?


Brett said...

Rock on, people in the audience. Rock on.