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Baucus in meeting with single payer advocates: I might not press charges, now STFU

David Swanson*:

Senator Max Baucus met Wednesday with advocates for single-payer healthcare, including Senator Bernie Sanders, and told them that he might drop criminal charges against 13 people arrested for speaking up in his hearings, but that he would not include any supporters of single-payer health coverage in any future hearings.

Then the hearings are a sham, plain and simple.

According to one report, Baucus suggested that he'd been mistaken to exclude single-payer but asserted that the process of creating healthcare reform legislation was too far along now to correct that omission.

Reminds me of an old saying from the world of graphic arts: There's never time to do it right, but there's always time to do it over. Well, Obaucus plan is a FAIL in the making, so doing it over is exactly what we will end up doing. So why not do the right thing now?

And what Bernie Sanders said:

Senator Sanders said after the meeting that if healthcare reform did not create a single-payer system it shouldn't be done at all, and that within three or four years we would realize we'd solved nothing. He said that it would be better to increase funding for community health centers and take steps to make it easier for medical students to go into primary care, than to enact major reforms that didn't go to the root of the problem.

We're going to lock another decade's worth of Americans into health care for profit so Obama can get something done NOW NOW NOW (that is, before the mid-terms?) Why? Bernie Sanders is God.

NOTE * Another decent diary at Kos. Who knew? Of course, the OFB have infested the comment threads, but honestly, when you've got people who are willing to go to jail for single payer, what does a little relentlessness from a few Kool-Aid dripping typists mean?

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Submitted by hipparchia on

he posted at afterdowningstreet and progressive democrats of america [which has started a defeat baucus campaign btw] picked it up, which is where i was reading it last night, so ya didn't have to link to you-know-where. more from the national nurses movement at pda.

i personally am hoping the baucus 13 refuse his offer to drop those charges. i would personally donate a bag of cat food to help defray their legal expenses.

bernie sanders is right, if we aren't going to do reform right, we should beef up the community clinics and charity care and wait for some congress critters with spines.

ot: this comment was automatically set to full html instead of filtered.

deniseb's picture
Submitted by deniseb on

Our president is positioning himself to take credit if there's success and to blame Congress if there's failure. But he himself took single-payer off the table from the beginning. Is he going to get away with separating himself from all the nitty-gritty?

A lot of backroom deals must have been involved in taking the approach they did. I hate to see Baucus alone get the blame.

I agree that doing this badly will be worse than holding out.

I want to scream at the idea that this has to pay for itself and that we have to cut costs before we can cover everyone. We have to cover everyone no matter what, or we can't call ourselves civilized human beings. I am confident that single-payer is the cheapest way to go and that if we implement we will see the savings, but that isn't the main point; the health and well-being of 40 million people is.

Submitted by hipparchia on

i'd guess it's a consensus of the finance wing of the fkd, which obama seems to be happy to have joined.

dk's picture
Submitted by dk on

technological idiot, I would know how to embed videos here, but instead all I can do is provide a link of this Obama campaign ad. Relevant text:

On healthcare reform, two extremes:

On one end, government run healthcare - higher taxes. On the other, insurance companies without rules denying coverage.

Barack Obama says both extremes are wrong.

Baucus likely agrees with this, and it's all well and good to go after him (and our side needs some political theater too, and it's easier to make political theater in a senate hearing room than it is to get close to the President), but this is the Obama administration's plan.

Submitted by lambert on

1. Go to the YouTube page.

2. Look for Embed field at top right; it will start with <object...

3. Click in the field to select everything in it.

4. Copy

5. Go to your post (assuming you are Editing it) and Paste.

6. What you paste will look icky but will start with <object and end with </object>. If anything goes wrong, you probably haven't copied all the way from the start to the end.

dk's picture
Submitted by dk on

Thank you! Let me give it a go here (my profuse apologies in advance if it doesn't work):

I remember this ad content appearing up here on the Boston channels during the GE. I always wanted to throw stuff at the TV when it came on. But let it not be said that his policy position regarding single payer wasn't crystal clear. To Obama, single payer is as extreme as Dick Cheney himself telling your cancer-stricken 3 year old that his preexisting condition is his own problem and he's on his own.

Submitted by jawbone on

with words enough to let people believe they would get change that helped them, not the Big Insurers.

Most of what he made more clear was done in private settings, reports of which got little coverage.

I don't think that ad ran in NJ--it was considered part of the NYC ad market and not that many ads ran at all. Pretty sure I never saw that except on the web. I'm surprised it ran in MA! Does Boston TV reach New Hampshire?

dk's picture
Submitted by dk on

New Hampshire (which is probably why they ran it here).

I agree with your point that Obama twisted his words enough to make some people believe he was looking out for them. But ads like this were very clear in expressing that, in any policy he would come up with, single payer would be off the table. My point in making the comment here was that I don't think that single payer being off the table should be put at Baucus' feet (though I imagine he doesn't like it either). This is Obama's plan, always was.

healthforall's picture
Submitted by healthforall on

Max Baucus and the Senate Finance Committee Should NOT Be Deciding Health Care for America

“Senator Max Baucus and the Senate Finance Committee are too corrupted by corporate health industry profiteers donations to give America the health care policy it needs.

“Here’s why Baucus is not doing the peoples business:

According to OpenSecrets.org over his career he has taken donations from:

The Insurance Industry: $1,170,313
Health Professionals $1,016,276

Pharmaceuticals/Health Products Industry $734,605
Hospitals/Nursing Homes $541,891

Health Services/HMOs $439,700

“That is a grand total of $3,902,785.

Can we trust Baucus to put aside the profits of the industries that have kept him in the senate? Will he put the people’s necessities ahead of the profits of his contributors? Baucus has shown his bias and should be removed from leading the health care reform effort by the Democratic Party leadership.

“It is time to remove Baucus from the leadership of health care reform. It is time to move the critically important priority of reforming America’s health care system from the Finance Committee and put it before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. At least their mission is health care not money.

Read the whole story. The above is quoted from: http://www.pnhp.org/news/2009/may/max_ba...

healthforall's picture
Submitted by healthforall on

BAUCUS HAS MADE A DEAL WITH THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY. He admits this at 8:33 in the video here: http://therealnews.com/t/index.php?optio...

Here’s part of the transcript from the video:

BAUCUS: I think everything is going to stay on the table, but big portions will be modified and sculpt. One example is the public option. You know, that's a hot button. And I do suspect a version will be there. NOW, BY SAYING THAT, I DON'T WANT TO FRIGHTEN PEOPLE, PARTICULARLY ON THE INDUSTRY SIDE, SAY, "OH-OH, HERE THEY GO. BAUCUS HAS SAID PUBLIC OPTIONS," AND, YOU KNOW, THE DEAL IS OFF. All I'm saying is there are ways to skin a cat, there are ways to find solutions, there are ways, I think, to do this, ultimately, in a way that's acceptable.??

RITTER: Politicians have to stop taking money from the insurance companies, and right now they're saying it's not politically feasible because they're still taking money from that big industrial-medical complex, from pharmaceuticals and insurance companies.

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

that the process of creating healthcare reform legislation was too far along now to correct that omission.

Did he actually just use that weak-assed excuse? Seriously? The omission was by design. That excuse is so disingenuous it's not even funny. He's acting as if he just heard of the single-payer option, when that option has been screamed about before he was even thought of to head this most recent congressional movement for healthcare reform in Congress. What an asshole.

Submitted by jawbone on

case he needs it for his reelection.

The omission was by his and Obama's design. Obama had to be dragged kicking and obfuscating into supporting universal health care. It was never his own goal; it was a campaign expediency. And he left his own "excuses" around for his plausible deniability.

Damn, what to do about this?

ElizabethF's picture
Submitted by ElizabethF on

what happened to "they work for us"? Is that passe' now in the era of Obama?

The arrogance and audacity to 'announce" he might drop criminal charges against 13 people arrested for speaking up in his hearings.

Who the hell does this man think he is? Letters, phone calls, faxes have been ignored. We have a congressman representing the US government, threatening Americans, holding closed meetings, making deals with insurance companies.

And why are we not in the streets? If there ever was a time for civil disobedience, it is now.

ElizabethF's picture
Submitted by ElizabethF on

I will make the trip if it gathers some steam.

I went to DC for the Rules and ByLaws Com meeting last May (still shaking head at that mess) and I think going for this is as important.

I vowed not to go to DC for at least the next four years after the Rules experience. I think I was actually traumatized by my government as I sat listening to those committee members. But...I will go back for this.

Submitted by lambert on

I just had a local complaint about too much health care mail -- as would be the case, because all single payer stuff is getting more intense exactly because it's been driven underground, and the astroturfing is just starting.

So, gob, don't assume anybody knows anything, but always share (and critique).