Baucus: I plan to sacrifice the health of 4% of the country
Will the bill provide universal coverage?
It has to come pretty close, Baucus said, if all the other reforms are going to work. Most health care experts agree. By "nearly everybody," Baucus added he was talking about something like 96% of all Americans. However, he refused to specify how quickly that might be achieved.
Will the bill have a government-financed "public option"?
This is one of the most contentious questions surrounding the health care debate, with the insurance industry arguing that giving Americans the option of enrolling in a Medicare-like plan would essentially destroy its business model. While Baucus said that "a version will be there," he also hinted strongly that it will be structured as some kind of compromise. "There are ways to skin a cat," he said.
One possibility that he sounded pretty enthusiastic about is having the public option as some kind of "fallback". I've heard that fallback idea talked about quite a bit lately, in various guises. For instance, there may be such an option in insurance markets where there is no real competition--which, these days, is pretty much everywhere. Another version under discussion would trigger the fallback if the private health insurance industry failed to bring costs under control.
Clearly he plans to do nothing and call it a compromise.