Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Twinkie Defense

Well, this sorta kinda explains things, at least a little. From today's NY Times:

On the agenda is the revamping of the American health care system, possibly the most complex legislation in modern history. But on the table, in a conference room where the bill is being hashed out by six senators, the snacks are anything but healthy.

Last week, there were chippers — chocolate-covered potato chips — described on a sign as “North Dakota Diet Food.” More often, there are Doritos, pretzels, Oreo cookies and beef jerky: fuel to get through hours of talks on topics like the actuarial values of private insurance plans or the cost-sharing provisions of Medicare.

The fate of the health care overhaul largely rests on the shoulders of six senators who since June 17 have gathered — often twice a day, and for many hours at a stretch — in a conference room with burnt sienna walls, in the office of the Senate Finance Committee chairman, Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana.


If these six senators were dealing with something less important than expanding health care access, this would be comedy gold. Unfortunately, they aren't and therefore it isn't. Instead, it serves as a bizarre metaphor for what we can expect if, as now seems likely, these six "centrists" have their way. To be fair, we know that at least Sen. Baucus eats better than this. He's even been sighted eating chicken cordon bleu with health care providers and insurance company executives at a fund raiser.

These six senators, three conservative Democrats and three moderate Republicans, have already given us a pretty clear picture of what will come out of that powerful committee:

Already, the group of six has tossed aside the idea of a government-run insurance plan that would compete with private insurers, which the president supports but Republicans said was a deal-breaker.

Instead, they are proposing a network of private, nonprofit cooperatives.

They have also dismissed the House Democratic plan to pay for the bill’s roughly $1 trillion, 10-year cost partly with an income surtax on high earners.

The three Republicans have insisted that any new taxes come from within the health care arena. As one option, Democrats have proposed taxing high-end insurance plans with values exceeding $25,000.
[Emphasis added]

But, hey! It's bipartisan, which is all that apparently matters. It's clear that what doesn't matter is that clearly most Americans want universal health care access at an affordable price, a desire that would best be addressed by a single payer plan modeled like Medicare with comparable cost constraints on providers. These yahoos won't even consider a public option which would at least give us non-millionaires a shot at decent health care.

Since this "gang of six" is so fond of junk food and insurance company money, I think we should show our true feelings about their efforts. I think we should bombard the office of Sen. Baucus with bags of pretzels to add to the committee snack pile. Here's the address:

Senator Max Baucus
511 Hart Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, D.C. 20510

Do it. It might take some of the sting out.

Labels: ,

22 Comments:

Blogger Southern Beale said...

I blogged about that today as well. The thing that got me was this bit from the AP story:

"They have met for hours in recent weeks in Baucus' office, joined by aides and outside advisers such as actuaries summoned to explain arcane details of insurance."

The poor dears needed a crash course in INSURANCE. That pretty much says it all. This is INSURANCE reform. NOT Healthcare reform. Don't even BEGIN to talk to me about HEALTHCARE reform. This is not now nor has it ever been about healthcare. It's just about insurance.

A very small goal when we are faced with a very large problem.

4:28 AM  
Blogger ntodd said...

I recommend sending Baucus a rescission notice...

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