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Pelosi on Baucus Proposal: ‘The House Bill Clearly Does More’

Not that anyone thought the reaction to the Senate Finance Committee’s long-awaited health reform bill would be any different, but the flurry of criticism from both sides of the aisle in the wake of today’s unveiling of the $856 billion proposal is indication that this debate is just getting started. And the public plan — absent in the Finance bill — is going to be at the center of it.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) just shot out a statement saying that she’s “pleased” that the Senate bill — spearheaded by Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) — includes some of the insurance reforms found in the lower-chamber’s bill. Still, she’s quick to add that “the House bill clearly does more to make coverage affordable for more Americans and provides more competition to drive insurance companies to charge lower premiums and improve coverage.”

The House bill also does more to help seniors afford prescription coverage, closing the donut hole completely, while the Baucus proposal simply reduces the cost of brand name drugs in the donut hole…

As this proposal evolves, we hope to see modifications that result in the Senate bill better reflecting the work of the House to make health care more affordable for all Americans and promote competition that is key to keeping costs lower. I believe the public option is the best way to achieve that goal.”

She’s hardly alone. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), who chairs the Finance Committee’s health subpanel, announced yesterday that there’s “no way” he will vote for the Baucus proposal, citing the absence of a public plan as a central reason.

That’s the criticism from the left. Meanwhile, here’s Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blasting away at the Baucus plan from the right.

This partisan proposal cuts Medicare by nearly a half-trillion dollars, and puts massive new tax burdens on families and small businesses, to create yet another thousand-page, trillion-dollar government program. Only in Washington would anyone think that makes sense, especially in this economy.

It actually seems that Baucus has written a bill that only Baucus likes.

*Check out our Senate Public Option Scoreboard here. You can follow TWI on Twitter and Facebook. *

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