Baucus Bill Swill

October 13th, 2009

Inspired by “As Panel Votes Today, Democrats Look Ahead” (Washington Post 10/13/09), “New Bill Would Raise Rates, Says Insurance Group” (Washington Post 10/12/09), “Healthcare Bill Won’t Raise Deficit, Report Says” (Washington Post 10/08/09), and “GOP Points to Democrats Concern on Medicaid” (Washington Post 10/08/09) regarding Republican and healthcare industry criticism of the Senate Finance Committee healthcare reform bill, which is scheduled to come to a vote today. See Wikipedia for information on the Medicare Part D prescription drug program. See also our post 10/06/09 10:00 — The Individual Mandate.


The CBO report

(which Republicans tried to distort)

Says the Baucus bill won’t raise the deficit

(Sorry, Republicans – deal with it).

Healthcare reform just got harder to thwart.


When the CBO reported the last draft’s deficit

Republicans were all over it.

They called director Orszag a hero,

So now it’s hard for them to brand him a zero.

(It’s ironic, I must admit.)


Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

Resorted to attacking the “real bill” –

Since he can’t criticize the bill proposed,

He created an imaginary one to oppose

And tried to make a mountain out of a molehill.


“The real bill will be another 1000-page trillion-dollar experiment,”

He said, seeking the bill to misrepresent.

That it might succeed is what he fears.

But could it be worse than what Republicans did for 8 years,

Which let health insurance costs in your state go up 73 percent?


What Dems want isn’t an experiment,

But reforms the current system to augment.

Changes needed are clear

But what Republicans fear

Is that change will hurt the companies they represent.


The bill saves $81 billion over 10 years and hundreds of billions thereafter,

So why do Republicans keep calling it a financial disaster?

It saves $81 billion

But Mitch says it costs a trillion?

His claims should be met with derisive laughter.


Republicans seemed to have missed

The bill’s benefits, which can’t be dismissed:

The package will provide coverage to 29 million,

And (I repeat) save taxpayers $81 billion–

It’s not often getting more and paying less coexist.


Sen. Grassley also said he’s “concerned”

About a number of risks he’s discerned.

What if insurers raise prices to consumers?

(If you want a way to mitigate this, try Schumer’s.)

Grassley would hate to see consumers burned.


I myself don’t see what Grassley’s afraid for.

I don’t think insurers will raise prices more

Than they otherwise would:

They’ve already been raising them as much as they could.

(And it’s funny how Grassley never cared about consumers before.)


Grassley also worries about unfunded Medicaid mandates

That the bill allegedly creates.

But it’s not healthcare reform that created the new poor

(That’s what the Bush recession was for).

And unfunded mandates never bothered him before.


Republicans caring about a State’s Medicaid fund?

I have to admit, I’m fairly stunned.

In terms of policy, this is a first.

Usually, to Medicaid they’re highly adverse.

In fact, when Dems to fill that gap proposed

Grassley and other Republicans opposed.


The last thing Republicans did for healthcare

Was add the prescription drug benefit to Medicare.

Price negotiation was forbidden

And increased costs were hidden.

Seniors and taxpayers paid billions, but they did they care?


They increased the deficit by $724 billion without offset

(Back then deficits and higher prices didn’t make them upset).

They created a $139 billion dollar subsidy

For the pharmaceutical industry

(You don’t bite the hand that feeds you when you’re a pet).


Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-LA, the benefit’s sponsor) then got a job with the PhRMA lobby

He’s now working for them full-time (previously just a hobby).

He makes $2 million per year

But alas, I fear

It’s still you and I paying the salary for Billy.


Now that the vote on the Baucus bill awaits

Insurance companies are reporting that it will raise rates.

They’ve done that so much before,

That I don’t believe them anymore

(Especially when the issue to their profits relates).


Why do they say rates will be higher?

What caused them to break the ceasefire?

It’s because of changes induced

By demands that costs be reduced

Which came from the Republican choir.


The thing about the bill they most hate

Is the weakness of individual mandate.

That gives those of young age

Disincentive to buy coverage,

Which puts upward pressure on rates.


That’s something I’ve talked about before

And it’s something we shouldn’t ignore.

The report may be biased but the principal is true.

So what  we must therefore do

Is work to increase coverage more.


There are plenty of chances for that

When the houses of Congress go to bat.

The real work’s just getting started

(Legislation’s not for the fainthearted):

Get ready for the hand-to-hand combat.


The Baucus Bill’s not perfect and our work’s not yet done

(For starters it lacks a public option).

But it’s a good bill that noone should shun.

Besides, of the drafts out there it’s the only one

That meets President Obama’s criterion.


Republicans want healthcare to go away,

But the Sen. Finance Committee votes today.

How Olympia will vote is hard to say,

But Dems will approve it anyway,

And healthcare reform will be on its way.

***

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5 Responses to “Baucus Bill Swill”

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