How good is Sen. Max Baucus's health reform bill? So good that Democrats have made sure some of the most costly provisions don't apply to their own states.Interesting, isn't it.
The Senate Finance Committee is gearing up for a final vote next week, and Chairman Baucus now appears to have the Democratic votes to pass his bill. Getting this far has of course meant cutting deals, and those deals, it turns out, are illuminating. The senators are all for imposing "reform" on the nation, so long as it doesn't disadvantage their constituents.
A central feature of the Baucus bill is the vast expansion of state Medicaid programs. This is necessary, we are told, to cover more of the nation's uninsured. The provision has angered governors, since the federal government will cover only part of the expansion and stick fiscally strapped states with an additional $37 billion in costs. The "states, with our financial challenges right now, are not in a position to accept additional Medicaid responsibilities," griped Democratic Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland.
Poor Mr. Strickland. If only he lived in . . . Nevada! Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who is worried about losing his seat next year, worked out a deal by which the federal government will pay all of his home state's additional Medicaid expenses for the next five years. Under the majority leader's very special formula, only three other states—Oregon, Rhode Island and Michigan—qualify for this perk, on the grounds, as Mr. Reid put it recently on the Senate floor, that they "are suffering more than most."
Friday, October 09, 2009
The Baucus Non-Bill is So Good
That Democrats are exempting their states from some of the provisions. Kimberly Strassel: