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Max Needs Some Sleep

Yesterday, Max Baucus sat down with the editorial board of the Helena Independent Record for an extended interview about health care reform. You need to watch this video of the interview. He is visibly worn down by what he has had to go through the last few weeks and no wonder.

I like Max, I really do and I respect his judgment, but letting the Republicans walk all over Montana in the name of bipartisanship just ain’t leadership. This is the way he has always worked, trying to reach consensus, but a lot of the time it bites him (and us) in the ass. Max acknowledged that “The Republican leadership in the Senate and in the House is doing its utmost to kill this bill,” he said. “They are putting intense political pressure on Chuck Grassley, Olympia Snow and Mike Enzi, to bow out, because they want to kill it“. He got notably snippy at the suggestion that raising $3.4 million in campaign contributions from the health and insurance companies in any way influences his actions. I mean, really, who do you think he is going to be most likely to listen to, the 47% of Montanans who support a strong public insurance option, or corporate financed Republicans who whine and say NO? Money matters.

If you support the public option health insurance option in the Senate bill, you might not want to watch the video before you go to bed. Max makes it pretty clear that there will be no Senate bill that includes a public option, or for that matter a watered down, “cooperative” option. When asked about whether a public option would be part of the Finance committee bill, Max reiterated that he will do “whatever I can do to get 60 votes” and doing that requires a few Republicans. The reality is that he may not have sixty votes in the Senate. That don’t make it right to do a watered down bill. If we pass a namby-pamby health care bill, the next Republican administration will underfund it and put an insurance exectutive in charge of the program and it WILL DIE. We HAVE TO pass a strong bill this time around that fixes what’s broke. I am almost… almost at the point where I would say that it is better to let the conservative whackos kill health care reform and live with the consequences than to pass near-miss bill. I’m giving Max the benefit of the doubt for now, until we see the bill that comes out of the Finance Committee.

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