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15 Sep

The Baucus Bill, A Disaster and Gift to the Health Industry

Sen. Jay Rockefeller Dumps on Baucus’ Bill

Following up on his This Week appearance where he promised to fight on for the public option, Sen. Jay Rockefeller blasted the draft bill produced by Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus: “there is no way in its present form that I vote for it unless it changes in the amendment process by vast amounts.”

He’s not alone.  Fellow Finance Committee member Ron Wyden is livid too.  Expect a rocky mark-up next week.  As one top Democrat told me, the fundamental problem is that Democrats “are being asked to support a bipartisan bill that doesn’t have bipartisan support.”  The compromise without the cover.

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Wendell Potter – Former Communications VP for CIGNA

Speaking before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee Tuesday, former health insurance industry executive-turned-whistleblower Wendell Potter warned that if Congress “fails to create a public insurance option to compete with private insurers, the bill it sends to the president might as well be called the Insurance Industry Profit Protection and Enhancement Act.”

Potter also struck back against one of the key arguments made against the public option: that it would have an unfair competitive advantage over private insurers.

‘Contrary to the misinformation being disseminated by the health insurance industry and its allies, the public insurance option would not have a competitive advantage over private plans,” Potter told the committee. “It would have to meet the same benefit requirements and comply with the same insurance market reforms as private plans. ”

Potter, who was previously a vice president of communication at Cigna, also sharply criticized Democratic Senator Max Baucus’ health care reform bill in a conversation with reporters Monday, calling the plan an “absolute gift to the industry.”

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