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Max’ed Out

This morning, Max Baucus was finally forced to give voice to what most of us have known for months. In voting against two public option amendements in the Senate Finance Committee, Max has shown that he is more interested in subsidizing his large campaign donors than in listening to the people who elected him. The latest CBS/NY Times poll showed around 70%  of Americans support a public option and the last poll I saw in Montana showed a 47% – 42% majority for the public option. Average cost of a family health care plan in Montana is now over $13,000 annually and health care spending grew by 7.3% a year 1991-2004. The Kaiser Foundation estimates that the cost could reach $30,000 for a family of four in ten years. Median family income in Montana is about $42,000. In 2007, 88,000 Montanans reported not seeing a physician because of cost. Nothing in the Baucus bill will do anything to reduce costs. The bill will force millions of people to buy health insurance from the robber barons with nothing to bring down the cost. The Baucus bill will require insurance companies to cover you if you have a pre-existing condition, but there is nothing in the bill to say how much they can charge for that coverage. Insurance companies love this bill. Taxpayers will subsidize those millions of new customers and insurance companies can charge whatever they like on your dime. In Montana, Blue Cross controls 75% of health insurance sales. Without the competition offered by a public insurance option, there is no incentive to lower costs.

The vote in the Finance Committee is a body blow, but far from the end of the fight of course. This is the only one of the five bills that doesn’t contain a public option. We still have to go through the process coming up with a single Congressional bill and there is still a good chance that a public option can be revived. There is not now, and never will be any “bipartisan” support. What we need most now is for the Committee to just vote out a damned bill, no matter what it contains so we can continue on. They have already assured us that any bill out of the Finance Committee will be a piece of crap. We have four other decent bills to work with.

We need to keep the pressure on Max and Jon and especially don’t let them forget that we are watching. If Max continues to thwart our needs in the health care process, we need to remind him that we put him there and we can bring him home. Michael Moore is ready to begin a campaign against conservative Democrats who continue to vote against the will of their districts and serve moneyed interests. He told supporters “That is not a hollow or idle threat. We will come to your district and we will work against you, first in the primary and, if we have to, in the general election“. Max needs to hear that sentiment now and often in the weeks to come.

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