Sen. Rockefeller Says No To Baucus Bill

Bill Scher

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, chair of the health subcommittee in the Senate Finance Committee, just announced on a media conference call with the Institute for America’s Future, that there is “no way” he will vote for the new bill drafted by Sen. Max Baucus.

At the top of Sen. Rockefeller’s list of concerns is the lack of a public option, noting “affordability is best approached by the public option,” but he had other serious problems as well. As The Treatment’s Jonathan Cohn reported, they include, “changes to Medicaid, changes to the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, and overall affordability provisions.”

It remains to be seen if what Baucus puts before the Finance Committee at the beginning of the committee process is the same bill that the full committee will vote on. Sen. Rockefeller pledged during the call to introduce “many many many amendments.” ABC’s George Stephanopoulos reports low Democratic enthusiasm for Baucus’ approach, quoting one anonymous Democrat complaining that “[we] are being asked to support a bipartisan bill that doesn’t have bipartisan support.”

The quest for compromise for compromise sake was rejected by Sen. Rockefeller, who said we should not pass “something” and call it health care reform. Similarly, featured speaker of the call Jacob Hacker, policy architect of the public option, said while we should not make “the perfect the enemy of the good,” we also should not make “the terrible the ally of the expedient.”

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