Everybody’s mind is on the quickly-developing manhunt in Massachusetts, but the Morning Jolt will arrive today, keeping an eye on the much-less dramatic political stuff:
Max Baucus: I Can’t Wait to Find The Jerks Who Passed Obamacare and Punish Them!
So this is how Congressional Democrats plan to deal with the coming mess that the implementation of Obamacare will create: pretend they had nothing to do with it, and blame the administration.
Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., scolded Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Wednesday over the implementation of President Obama’s health care law. Complaining about confused individuals and small businesses in his state and warning of a coming “train wreck,” at times Baucus sounded more like a Tea Partier than one of the key authors of the legislation that would become known as Obamacare. But his posture during the Finance Committee hearing is also a telling sign that Democrats up for reelection in 2014 are increasingly worried that mangled implementation could put their jobs in jeopardy.
In 2009, five different health care proposals made their way through the relevant committees in the House and Senate. The Finance Committee bill that Baucus authored was the closest to the finished product that Obama signed. Go back and look at Baucus’s bill, and you’ll see most of the law’s key components there – taxes on insurers, drug companies, medical device manufacturers and high value health care plans; exchanges; the Medicaid expansion; IPAB. Also significant is what wasn’t in the Baucus bill – a public option, which had been a central component of the other proposals circulating through Congress, but was ultimately abandoned.
Rep. Mike Pompeo wrote, in member-to-member letter form, a pretty thorough smack-down of Baucus:
I was stunned, and also saddened, to read of your complaint that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is doing an insufficient job informing the public about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), otherwise known as Obamacare. My shock wasn’t because I disagreed: You’re right to say this legislation has led to great uncertainty for hard-working Americans, small business owners, and families. No, I was shocked because youwrote this bill. I was saddened because your acknowledgement of the harm caused by PPACA has come so late.
Unlike you, the American people have opposed this law from the moment it was first introduced in Congress. How hard was it to see that even the smartest government bureaucrats can’t competently plan something as complicated as America’s health-care sector?
President Obama’s proposal to rescind the Medicaid disproportionate share hospital payments for 2014 is an admission that this law will not work as written. The IRS is violating the clear language of this law by planning to spend more than half a trillion dollars and tax millions of employers and individuals without congressional authorization.
No one in the country bears more responsibility for the complexity of this law than you.
The next explanation from Baucus will probably be, “It wasn’t me! It was the one-armed man!”
But this illustration from Lachlan Markay says it all: