Thursday, September 17, 2009

Lemieux Won't Support Baucus Bill

Senator George LeMieux told The Hill he can not support the Max Baucus bill.

“I cannot and will not support any health care plan that cuts health care for seniors in Florida," LeMieux said in a statement. “According to the independent, nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the Baucus proposal takes more than 400 billion dollars away from Medicare and Medicare Advantage – a program that allows 916,000 Florida seniors to have enhanced health care coverage."

The CBO report finds Medicare would save money by cost savings through insurance exchanges (Co-Ops).

That net cost itself reflects a gross total of $774 billion in credits and subsidies provided through the exchanges, increased net outlays for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and tax credits for small employers; those costs are partly offset by $215 billion in revenues from the excise tax on high-premium insurance plans and $59 billion in revenues from other sources.1 The net
cost of the coverage expansions would be more than offset by the combination of other spending changes that CBO estimates would save $409 billion over the 10 years and other tax provisions that JCT and CBO estimate would increase federal revenues by $139 billion over the same period.2 In subsequent years, the collective effect of those provisions would probably be continued reductions in federal budget deficits.

Baucus and the CBO are assuming the co-opts will shift and lower expenses. The America’s Healthy Future Act of 2009 will not stay in its current form. Amendments will be added and other committees will have input. The final Senate bill faces an uncertain future in the House.

What is interesting is this quote from LeMieux.

"I remain open-minded that a health care proposal can be reached that will reduce costs and increase access to health care for those who are uninsured, while protecting the quality of care for all Americans," he said.

I'm not counting on LeMieux to vote for the final Democratic health care bill. It is nice to hear a Republican Senator be "open-minded" and not scream that Obama is a Socialist. Rationale-sounding Republicans are few and far between.

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