"Baucus Continues Slow-Walking Health Reform"
Since late July, it’s been clear that the strategy for killing health care reform is to delay it first. And it’s clear that killing health care reform is the top priority of the Republican Party leadership. And Max Baucus has been working hand-in-glove with GOP leaders throughout the process to join them in their delaying tactics, even while presenting himself as the man leading the charge for reform. It’s odd. And it’s continuing:
The senators rejected the idea of imposing a deadline on their negotiations, and they agreed to talk again Sept. 4 — four days before lawmakers are scheduled to return to Washington from their August break. The consensus, one participant said, was “to take your time to get it right.”
Why talk against September 4? Why not talk again on Monday? Are there more important policy issues they’re working on? As Chris Bowers says:
Of course, taking another fifteen days off is already a huge victory for Republicans and others opposing health care reform. The longer the bill takes, the lower President Obama’s approval ratings will drop. Approval for the overall health care effort will also probably continue to slide.
As such, it is clear that by “take your time to get it right,” what the committee actually meant was kill health care reform altogether.
To get a sense of the bogusness of the idea that they need more time, take a gander at Ezra Klein’s November 12, 2008 writeup of Max Baucus’ white paper on health care. He sketched a vision of health reform that’s very similar to what the Senate HELP Committee and the House of Representatives finalized about a month ago. Baucus liked the idea then just fine. And if he wanted to talk to Olympia Snowe about her concerns and see if there were some small modifications to make, he had six months to sound her out before the health reform debate really started in earnest.