‘Gang of Six’ Not Quite the Voice of the Nation

Wednesday, July 29, 2009 at 2:35 pm

As select members of the Senate Finance Committee race to finalize their health reform bill before August recess, it’s worth noting just how few Americans those lawmakers represent.

The so-called “gang of six” consists of Democratic Sens. Max Baucus (Mont.), Jeff Bingaman (N.M.) and Kent Conrad (N.D.); and GOP Sens. Charles Grassley (Iowa), Mike Enzi (Wyo.) and Olympia Snowe (Maine). Combined, the lawmakers represent about 8.4 million people** — roughly the population of New York City — or 2.75 percent of the nation’s population. Yet the bill they’re crafting will likely influence every warm body in the country.

The disproportionate voice of these lawmakers wasn’t lost on New York Times columnist Gail Collins, who noted dryly last week that, “Nothing is going to happen on health care without the approval of Baucus, whose vast authority stems from the fact that he speaks for both the Senate Finance Committee and a state that contains three-tenths of one percent of the country’s population.”

Democracy, indeed.

**Enzi, who also sits on the Senate health committee, represents the country’s least populous state of Wyoming (532,668); Conrad hails from North Dakota, which ranks 48th (641,481); Baucus, chairman of the Finance panel, comes from 44th-ranking Montana (967,440); Snowe represents Maine, which ranks 40th (1,316,456); Bingaman is voting for 36th-ranking New Mexico (1,984,356); and Grassley hails from 30th-ranking Iowa (3,002,555).



The great flaw of the Senate « Later On
Pingback posted July 29, 2009 @ 3:25 pm

[...] Senate, where 23% of the population elects 60 Senators, enough to control the chamber. Very bad. Mike Lillis ponders this problem in the Washington Independent: As select members of the Senate Finance Committee race to finalize [...]

Comment posted July 29, 2009 @ 9:09 pm

I wonder if the framers of the Constitution would have agreed to equal representation for each state in the Senate if they knew how grossly disproportional the representation would become.

‘Gang of Six’ Not Quite the Voice of the Nation | The Lie Politic
Pingback posted July 30, 2009 @ 4:31 am

[...] Visit Source [...]

Pingback posted July 30, 2009 @ 3:06 pm

[...] have ignored the real benefits of the Obama plan to working folks in their rural districts) or the “gang of six” on the Senate Finance Committee (who collectively represent 2.75 percent of the nation’s population) appear ready to vest real [...]

How Can a ‘Gang of Six’ Member Have No Opinion of the Public Option? | The Lie Politic
Pingback posted August 18, 2009 @ 4:32 am

[...] reform proposals in decades, and Conrad happens to be one of the Finance Committee’s “gang of six” — the group trying to hash out a health reform bill that would likely be the template [...]

Comment posted August 18, 2009 @ 7:45 pm

@webcelt – do your hear the words coming out of your fingertips. This is exactly the reason that they mde equal representation. That way, thank goodness, California and New York wouldn't control the US.

oops, I guess you’re a hippy now, too – so many trons
Pingback posted August 19, 2009 @ 12:57 pm

[...] health care is occurring in the middle of the political spectrum, with the main focus on the “gang of six“. As for bipartisanship, on this issue (and perhaps many others) it seems like a faulty [...]

Comment posted August 22, 2009 @ 5:21 pm

The 'gang of six' may not represent a significant % of the population, but the do appear to be intelligent, non-partisan moderates who reject the extremenist non-compromising views on both sides, (but especially within the House Democratic eadership).

The current system needs improvments, but not a drastic overhaul. If the current efforts for reform, it will be because of the hubris of the extremists in the Democratic party who over-reached.

Comment posted August 22, 2009 @ 6:59 pm

With all due respect for the array of opinions – I write about States' Rights issues and concern over representatives who receive millions of dollars in donations from entities they are charged, in practice, to oversee and evaluate.

First, money. Max Baucus sounded level headed after eventually conceding to sit with inpatient and outpatient, mental health and med-surg providers who lobbied (without huge sums of money) and were recognized as a result of timely media coverage: in fact, all parties sounded level headed. Why weren't the providers given a sooner opportunity to speak? Why is Senator Baucus, the major recipient of insurance and pharma monies sitting as chair on that committee? Despite his experience and knowledge, why is he allowed to continue to sit on this committee?

Second, States' Rights. Specifically, the Seniors Mental Health Act of 2009 (S.671) now proposes that 2 new (state licensed, private practice) provider positions would become eligible for Medicare reimbursement — despite the fact that (as I understand it) some states do not recognize/license those specific positions. Broader language, allowing “all mental health providers AND alcohol and substance abuse counselors licensed for private practice by their respective states to become eligible for Medicare reimbursement”, allows each respective state to continue to determine who will practice within their jurisdiction and (the important change) receive concurrent Medicare reimbursement for respective services delivered to the elderly, those with chronic issues, and those with debilitating substance abuse struggles. I believe that: 1) the states can handle that responsibility and 2) the state populus is able to direct the respective state decisions. As I understand it, this change would not adversely impact the Medicare budget and, in some cases, would actually reduce Medicare expenditures by allowing Medicare to pay the provider directly, as opposed to paying the “signaturing” MD rate.

In appreciation for the work of the “committee of six” – here's to transparency.

Senator Baucus Unveils Bad Policy « Health Care Justice Now
Pingback posted September 9, 2009 @ 12:51 pm

[...] bill. It stinks. After spending at least the last three months holed up with the so-called “Gang of Six,” Baucus has produced a plan that quite possibly no one in that group (aside from Baucus) [...]

L. K. Shallenberger
Comment posted September 14, 2009 @ 3:51 am

No member of Congress is to be believed until he/she embraces the same health care insurance provisions availbale tothe rest of the nation

Health Care. (united health care, universal health care) » Blog Archive » The Public Health Insurance Option: What, How, and Why
Pingback posted September 14, 2009 @ 9:04 pm

[...] late Senator Ted Kennedy wrote and passed out of his committee. The framework put forward by the “gang of six” in the Senate Finance Committee does not have a public health insurance [...]

Comment posted September 15, 2009 @ 7:45 pm

It is true that something does need to be done as medicare and medicaid are depleting the funds set aside, the fund that I paid into all of my life. What happened to that money? Could it be that it was used by other sources all these many years? Other sources that had no business using our money. Now the problem of a new health care arises that means that our country will be in such great debt we will never get out of it, nor will our children and grandchildren. Certainly there is a better way. I am happy with my health insurance (again that I worked for all my life). Let me keep mine, find a way to unite small businesses in a group to get insurance, get rid of the ability of lawyers to make such profits from health claims, help the people who can not afford health insurance obtain some, or help in finding care, do not offer health insurance to illegals (we can not afford this). We have the greatest medical system in the world. Let's not change it. You must do something to protect us, the tax payers of the US.

Our Big Start » What is the public health insurance option?
Pingback posted September 16, 2009 @ 10:06 am

[...] late Senator Ted Kennedy wrote and passed out of his committee. The framework put forward by the “gang of six” in the Senate Finance Committee does not have a public health insurance [...]

Health Care Reform 2009: The Senate Finance Committee Bill : What If Post
Pingback posted October 14, 2009 @ 12:27 pm

[...] particular group of six Senators was chosen- they represent states whose population adds up to only 8.4 million people, less than 3% of the country’s total population.  (That would be like if only [...]

The Pathos of Helplessness » The HPRty
Pingback posted January 19, 2010 @ 6:17 pm

[...] relentless obstructionism, the corrosive influence of money, the absurdly unequal concentrations of political power, the acrid partisanship, and, reflective of all this, the general loss of trust in the governing [...]

New York Walking Tours
Comment posted August 21, 2010 @ 7:47 pm

“Combined, the lawmakers represent about 8.4 million people** — roughly the population of New York City — or 2.75 percent of the nation’s population” – that's a point of view. This numbers represent nothing comparing to the impact this law will have upon us.

Comment posted September 7, 2011 @ 12:46 pm

2907242 beers on the wall. sck was here

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