Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) — citing “obstacles” such as the economy, energy legislation, Iraq and Afghanistan, and the deficit — said at a conference today that health care reform is unlikely to happen this year. As Finance Committee Chairman, Baucus plays a key role in pushing through health care legislation:
“Why might reform not happen this year? As is often the case, the new administration and the new Congress face competing priorities,” said Sen. Max Baucus. … “These priorities compete for time on the agenda and attention in the press and in public.” “The president’s dance card is indeed full,” he added.
House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) fired back, saying, “We need to get this job accomplished this year and get the bill to the president.”
It appears the Washington Times writeup mischaracterized Baucus’ views. Baucus was merely citing potential obstacles to reform, but his own view is: “Getting health care reform legislation enacted this year is my top priority.”