Baucus: Republicans Offered No Health Reform Alternative
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D) is a pretty even-keeled, middle-of-the-road kind of guy. It was the Montana moderate who spent months tweaking the Democrats’ health reform plans in the unsuccessful effort to get more Republicans behind it. And even as the finance panel is forging ahead this week with a bill, Baucus has said that he’s doing so only at the behest of Democratic leaders in Congress and the White House. In other words, if it were up to him, he’d rather still be in behind-the-scenes negotiations in search of a bipartisan compromise.
So it was something to hear Baucus this morning accuse those across the aisle of blasting the Democrats’ bill without offering a comprehensive proposal of their own.
“There is not an alternative on the other side,” Baucus said during a testy exchange. “I don’t know what the Republican alternative is … I don’t see one.”
What Republicans have done is to offer hundreds of amendments aimed at altering the Democrats’ bill, including efforts to bolster health savings accounts, limit malpractice suits and prevent an expansion of Medicaid. They’re calling it targeted governing.
“We don’t believe in a massive government takeover,” said Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.). “It is correct. You will not see a massive Republican bill that tries to do anything like that.”
The good news is that it’s already Thursday.