Some Senate Dems Voice Concerns With Baucus Bill
Sen. Max Baucus' pursuit of a bipartisan health care reform bill is being met with increasing skepticism from his own party.
The Wall Street Journal: "Sen. Ron Wyden (D., Ore.) complained the legislation would ask working Americans to commit as much as 13% of their income to buy basic insurance. 'Additional steps are going to have to be taken to make coverage more affordable,' he said. 'That's a real hit on middle-class families.'
"Under the legislation, which has yet to be formally unveiled, individuals would be required to have health insurance, and would receive government assistance if they are at the lower end of the income ladder. But Sen. Wyden said more needs to be done to lower out-of-pocket expenses. Sen. John Kerry (D., Mass.) raised concerns about Mr. Baucus's mix of new taxes and other means of paying for the plan" (Hitt and Weisman, 9/15).
The Associated Press: "Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., said he thought some of the fees Baucus intends to level on sectors of the medical industry to pay for the bill were excessive, though he declined to say which ones. 'It's a starting point. I have differences still,' Kerry said, adding that he thought the Senate would pass a good health bill in the end" (Werner, 9/15).
Roll Call: "Baucus said he did not expect the Democratic amendments to make any attempt to gut the framework of the bill, which he continues to negotiate with a bipartisan group of Finance members."
Roll Call also noted Wyden's reservations, and quoted him: "At this point in the debate, the flashpoint is all about affordability," he said (Drucker, 9/14).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.