July 29th, 2009
01:28 PM ET
9 years ago

Top Dem aide: 'Significant policy issues' could still derail deal

 Democratic Sen. Max Baucus, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, is spearheading bipartisan health care reform negotiations in the Senate.

Democratic Sen. Max Baucus, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, is spearheading bipartisan health care reform negotiations in the Senate.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - CNN has obtained an e-mail from a top aide of Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus – a message that aims to debunk a Washington Post headline that negotiators are close to a deal.

The authenticity of the e-mail, sent to top aides to senators on the Finance Committee and obtained by CNN from a GOP source, was confirmed by a Baucus aide.

"While progress has been made in recent days, neither an accord nor an announcement is imminent," wrote Russ Sullivan, Democratic staff director for the committee. "In fact, significant policy issues remain to be discussed among the Members, and any one of these issues could preclude bipartisan agreement."

While several senators have been more upbeat about the negotiators' progress over the last 24 hours, there is also concern about managing expectations, and about backlash from senators left out of negotiations who have not been briefed on all the details of the talks.

Still, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley told National Public Radio Wednesday morning they are "on the edge" of a deal this week.

(Read the full text of the e-mail after the jump)

Full text of the e-mail:

From: Sullivan, Russ (Finance-Dem)
Sent: Wed Jul 29 08:19:05 2009
Subject: Clarification To Post Story

Today's Post article (A1- " Senators Close to Health Accord") makes it appear that a bipartisan deal is imminent. While progress has been made in recent days, neither an accord nor an announcement is imminent. In fact, significant policy issues remain to be discussed among the Members, and any one of these issues could preclude bipartisan agreement. Members will continue their methodical work. If you have questions, please call and we will give you more information. We do not want your boss to have a misimpression based on an inaccurate headline.

Filed under: Health care • Senate
soundoff (234 Responses)
  1. Dave

    Healthcare reform aint never gonna happen. American people are collectively dumb and havent figured out yet that GOP and Democrats run hand in hand in many areas. They are both buddy buddy with the INSURANCE Industry. And whether its the Oil Barons, Financial Barons, Bank Barons, Pharma Barons...or the Healthcare/ INSURANCE Barons, they are both in the pockets of Corporate America. Everything for Corporate America and nothing for the people. This is the real culture war in our country.

    July 29, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  2. rich

    Another politician on the payroll of the insurance industry. 72% of Americans want a public option. So I suggest that for every politician that votes against health reform with a public option that we band together vote these people out of office. We have to demand change to our health system. To many people are suffering because of health industry and it's time to take action. I used to work at an insurance company and we had people dedicated to reviewing medical records looking for pre-existing conditions. This is how insurance companies increase profits. They accept premiums from consumers and then deny claims based on pre-existing conditions or they just will not insure you. A public option eliminates the clause in a health policy where they can deny claims based on pre-existing conditions. This is the most important part of the public option. I encourage people to call a health insurance advocate and have them explain their health policy. Then tell me if you are one illness away from bankruptcy.

    July 29, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  3. ge

    congress and senators and allthere aids all have goverment payed health care why should you and why should they care they have more to gain with insurance companys

    July 29, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  4. Jane Jones

    Please get those bums out of our lives – they have no idea what they are doing.
    Jane J

    July 29, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  5. Girish

    "If you have questions, please call and we will give you more information. "

    Why keep the wheeling and dealing in secret – available only to a few.

    Obama has promised transparency - put all committee work and conversations on straeming video/CSPAN !!

    July 29, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  6. bernie mihm

    The Senate should look very hard at the Wyden Bennet bill. It has both Democrat and Republican co-sponsors , insures nearly everyone, and is revenue neutral.

    July 29, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  7. Bonnie Kimberly

    Have the men we sent to Washington to do the peoples work decided to do something or are they going to risk the hard feelings that will surely come thier way if they blow this chance to make the health care reform bill pass? I wonder if they are just waking up or what? A bunch of rich people playing with our collective life is what I see. I hope they all rot if this fails.

    July 29, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  8. Nobody Asked Larry But...

    All the rhetoric, back room dealing and wheeling, each congresssman wanting to get their 2cents into the bill, is for naught: unless, and until we get single payer health coverage, similar to what the congressmen have. Don't you find it interesting that they don't talk about their health coverage and don't want to share it with anyone else?

    July 29, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  9. Fort Lauderdale

    No wonder it's secret. Read the article on the homepage of the New York Times about the plans (or are they schemes) to tax employee health benefits, since they can't find the money any other way. Such a plan undermines the entire purpose of health care reform. It raises the cost of health care for the great mass of working Americans, thereby further reducing our access to "affordable" health care, especially preventive healthcare, and reduces income and therefore quality and standard of life. What a secret! Here's another one. The Democrats have a death wish. This scheme will kill the Party in 2010 and 2012.

    July 29, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  10. katiec

    What part of 76% of the people supporting and wanting public option do the politicians not understand??
    Am so sick of the political games by all sides. It is imperative that an acceptable Health Care Reform be passed.
    Please, contact every politican you can and demand they represent
    the American people.

    July 29, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  11. IndyVoter

    Sen. B. are you proud of yourself for this stalling tactic and all the bickering? Get over yourselves. Its called conflict resolution. Its been decades since we had a true health care overhaul. Please, time is up, no more stalling. Get it done!!

    July 29, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  12. A Kickin' Donkey

    Fire the people that are leaking ... it's detrimental to progress.

    I don't want to hear about leaks at the expense of getting something done.


    July 29, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  13. Bob Ramos

    I would want someone at the "town hall" meeting to ask the below questions of both the President and any congressional types (Senators/Representatives) present.

    1. Will the final plan apply to members of Congress and WH employees?
    2. If not, why not?
    3. If not, who specifically is setting up roadblocks?

    I do hope someone asks these questions.

    July 29, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  14. gl, From Pittsburgh

    Still, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley told National Public Radio Wednesday morning they are "on the edge" of a deal this week.

    Repubicans are so so good at lying to the Public. The Party of lies, fear, hate, hypocrite, and line their pocket up with Big Corp.

    July 29, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  15. Ron In California

    While we elwcted these bafoons to represent us, they rarely do anything that actually does. 70% of Americans are satisfied with their healthcare, Congress is messing with a good system to supposedly insure the 47 million who aren't. They know the statistics on the 47 million..more than half include those who CHOOSE not to be insured and could afford to pay for insurance. This is nothing more than another intrusion by government in our lives. Government has proven over and over it cannot run programs successfully, AMTRACK. Postal Services, Social Security, Medicare, FEMA, Department of Defense, the list goes on and on. This so called healthcare reform will end up a huge bureaucratic nightmare and degradation of a very good system. Next election vote them all out of office and start over.

    July 29, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  16. The Lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    Big government is a failed government. big Government equals loss of freedom and liberty.
    And as for this health care bill we the people CAN NOT AFFORD IT period.
    We the working people are paying over half of our earning now in taxes, fees and coming soon the new fat tax.... tax on the air we breath etc...

    July 29, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  17. stormerF

    It should be derailed ,there are no provisions to keep illegals from getting free health care,no checks and no Tort reform to curb the frivolous law suits filed. Plus no reform to cut the mal practice insurance for Doctors. 1/3 of the tests done are due to fear of frivolous law suits.....Actually there is no country in the world that has Government run health care that does not have Rationing. Thats right Governemnt Rationing of Health Care..... Just the facts Mam,Just the Facts.

    July 29, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  18. Minnesotan

    Max Baucus shouldn't be on the committee to reform Health Care. He's received over $2.6 million from Insurance companies. In reality, we like to call this a "conflict of interests." In Washington, they call it business as usual, fighting for whomever gives you the most money. We need a Public Option for Health Care. The non-partisan CBO has already stated that both House and Senate plans will save over $260 Billion over the next decade. Our politicians don't need to take a vacation; they need to do their jobs and fix the problems the Republicans have either caused or left behind!

    July 29, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  19. Working Class American

    Message to all Congressmen:


    Signed: The American People Who Pay Your Salaries!!!

    July 29, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  20. Robert

    Let's not rush into anything.....Obama is campaigning again for the health reform HE wants. Ya know it is a problem if he is campaigning. He will say one thing now and we will all get screwed later because he will – simply put – lie to get what HE wants through. Forget the fact that anyone over 65 is then subject to not getting any health care except for a visit from the Death Advisor on how to fill out your will.

    July 29, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  21. Sharon Kitchen

    everyone that is holding up health care...........well..........................
    what would happen to them if they loose their jobs and could not afford health care?
    Who would pay or help them pay for health care?
    Would they want to die ?
    Those Rep gop folks should think about someone else for a change.....not just themselves.
    Get off the edge.............and vote this much needed health care in!!!!!!!!

    July 29, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  22. Wanted Posters

    I want the CEOs of these health companies and their paid bluedogs to have their photos and addresses posted online for all Americans to see,just who held up health care for millions of children and adults in this country.

    July 29, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  23. Dave

    STOP this legislation NOW, and PLEASE start over and do what's right. Right now over 85% of the American Public has Health Insurance and over 80% of those like thier coverage and don't want it to change.

    Focus on two things, and two things only:
    1) Not allow Insurance companies to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions – this should not cost the Government anything though our insurance rates will go up, but so be it.
    2) Provide assistance to those who truly can not afford coverage

    That's it – FOCUS on those two goals and ONLY those two goals. Then over time look at what we can do to constrain cost, but this WILL hurt and hurt seniors a lot, but we will ahve to do what we have to do

    July 29, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  24. Dave

    kind of funny – Dem's don't like leaked info when it's about their legislation but LOVE it when it hurt President Bush. Try being fair – you either like leaked info or don't. I don't

    July 29, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  25. KK

    How much are you getting from the lobbyists Baucus? It is getting a little disgusting listening about what will be taxed to get our Health Care reform. In my eyes it is better to be taxed a nominal fee rather than pay for increased insurance fees. What good is having the best medical system that only the rich will be able to afford.

    July 29, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
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