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. Expat American

    While I commend President Obama for taking on so much in so little a time in regards to the health care debate – no President will be able to provide healthcare to those who can't afford it. Not a Democrat, Not a Republican, no one will achieve this, ever. The very foundation of capitalism and war upon which this country was built leaves no room for universal health care.

    July 29, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  2. Patrick

    "Why should I have to pay for someone who goes to the emergency room every time they sneeze? Why should i have to pay for the person who makes up some pain in their back so they can feed their addiction to pain-killers?"

    Why should you have to pay every time there is a fire? Every time the police are called? Does fire spread? Does crime spread? Does disease/illness spread?

    Understand now?

    July 29, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  3. Kevin in Atlanta

    Democrats need to be pragmatic. Since it's looking increasingly obvious that the public option will garner 218 votes in the House and 60 in the Senate, it would be best to compromise with the Senate Finance Committee's "Co-Op" plan so they can at least get some health insurance reform to the president's desk.

    THEN, after a few years, we can all see if the "Co-Op" plan is working, and if it has not, then they'll be more support for the creation of a public option at that time.

    This opportunity will not come again for a long time. If the Democrats fail to get something passed, they will pay a HUGE political price and the opportunity to reform health care in America will be pushed down the road another 15-20 years.

    July 29, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  4. Randolph Carter

    Why do we even need private insurance companies? Seems to me that they're just greedy middle men between you and your doctor, who skim off the top and try as hard as possible to deny you payment. Have a nice day!

    July 29, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  5. Patrick

    "and those policies have failed globally for generations."

    Really? Don't see Candians, Britons, or the French with their healthcare system dying off in droves do you? They have access to care and they are healthier as a people than we are.

    So who is doing it wrong? US.

    July 29, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  6. Col Kilgore

    Funny stuff. Always tons of cash for bombs and bullets but never any for American citizens. Do the selfish posters ( "Why should i pay for their health care" ) crowd complain about their tax dollars killing innocent foreigners? Anyone that cant see past the true motivation for killing reform are too stupid to deserve universal health care in the first place. You folks are welcome to keep getting bled dead by the greedy.Dont matter to me. Im Canadian. I have health care.

    July 29, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  7. trish

    I have high reguard for people and it does`nt have anything to do with what party they are in.Parties are just another vehicle to keep people divided and in opposition with one another.My question is why do republicans act like spoiled children .It seems to me that they spend more time trying to discredit their opponents or anyone that does`nt agree with their agenda.Wow,I am really not impressedwith mudslinging and digging for dirt to use as ammunition.That has proved worthless through so many presidencies.This a new era so please can we see some decent and effective politics?

    July 29, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  8. Walter

    Anyone who thinks the U.S. has the "best health care in the world" is completely and utterly delusional.


    Her insurance company cancelled her insurance when her doctor discovered a very aggressive breast cancer. THIS WAS DAYS BEFORE HER SURGERY for heavens sake.

    And of course, the hospital REFUSED TO PERMIT THE SURGERY UNTIL SHE COULD COME UP WITH $30,000.

    This cancer was in her body for months, during which it doubled in size, before she had a double mastectomy.

    And this lady *HAD* health insurance. She paid the premiums. They took the money, but when it came time to save her life, they said NO.

    Suppose she had no health insurance. The U.S. system would have LET HER DIE.

    July 29, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  9. Kevin

    If you folks havent realized it yet, and if you have and simply want to conveniently turn a deaf ear and blind eye to whats going on. The REPUBLICANS have been purchased lock stock and barrell, by UnitedHealthCare under the guise of their nonprofit arm "The Lewin Group" in an effort to stop Health Care Reform, they want to attach caveats to this bill that will benefit them as opposed to keeping the focus on getting and or keeping the people of the United States Healthy. If we continue on just disagreeing with everything the President says because he is 1) Black and 2) a Democrat, then we are headed for a dissolution of the American Dream and Health Wealth and Prosperity for the American People. We need Health Care for all of our Citizens, Healthcare that will benefit the people not only the Insurance companies.

    HEALTH CARE NOW!!!!!!!!

    July 29, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  10. Tony

    Why is it, Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats will amass staggering debt for future generations as long as it is for Haliburton, Drug Companies, War Profiteers, Energy Companies, Banks!

    But if when it comes to Healthcare for their actual constituents the costs are too high. I say no congressman and his immediate family should have healthcare any better than his lowest paid constituent. Blue Dogs and Republicans need skin in the game.

    July 29, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  11. Glennis

    I want congressmen and senators to hold town hall meetings and explain these bills to us and tell us just what the implications are for our lives before they vote on anything. I want to know exactly what they plan to do to me. How can anyone blindly trust them to pass something that won't hurt either our economy or the patients ....us? Haste makes waste and in this case it could also make peoples lives worse.

    July 29, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  12. RN

    If anyone paid attention they might realize a few things:
    Other countries can beat our prices because their governments pay for health care, not the companies. Obama's health plan does NOT call for – or even promote – moving anyone from private insurance to public insurance.
    People call it socialism – thinking that we will all run away scared. But, I've got to know – how has capitalism been working out for you?
    We have 28 years of deregulation, capitalists running amok -(and they do not care about anything more than immediate high profits, the idea they will treat employees well and give them health care so they will be happy, healthy workers is a joke) and politicians who have self interest and rich friends in mind. How does anything thinking person actually expect Obama to turn that around in 6 months?
    Oh, wait, maybe they aren't thinking....
    Work together folks. If Obama succeeds we all succeed. Obama's ideas will be what save this country – 20 years of Republican presidents have given us our $10 trillion debt- learn the facts.

    July 29, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  13. Bev

    FACT: Apollo Alliance ...SEIU...ACORN....promoting minorities with opportunities in the medical field. These groups will profit and take over our healthcare industry. The Congressional Black Caucus is driving this healthcare effort. Van Jones, Apollo Alliance, Obama's "Green job czar"....promoting low-income people and minorities green job opportunities. This is where the money for this healthcare bill is going. It is NOT about insuring people. It is about RESTRUCTURING the government. It is about destroying our economy and making people dependent on the government. It is about lining the pockets of community organizers who work for minority groups. GET THE FACTS PEOPLE.

    July 29, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  14. Hilary

    Baucus is a snake. Montanans need to get rid of him. He's totally in the pocket of the insurance companies. He couldn't care less if you have affordable health care or not.

    July 29, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  15. Saboth

    There does need to be healthcare reform, and majorly. Anyone that says otherwise is a fool. At the current rate of rising costs, NO ONE will be able to afford it in 15-20 years. We already have people spending 50%-90% of their paycheck just to have healthcare for their family, and this is becoming the norm. Health insurance was great when it was $35-$50 a month. Now if you are paying $150-$250, you are getting a deal. An average family plan can run you $500-$700 a month. Just take a step back and boggle at those numbers.

    I'm not saying the current plan is good, but when insurance companies are denying coverage and claims for people and they are dying, just to make a profit..yeah, time to get rid of insurance companies.

    July 29, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  16. Michigan mom

    Grassley has taken $700,000 from the insurance companies..I doubt that his agreement includes anything approaching single payer.

    July 29, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  17. Kim

    Doesn't our country thrive on competition? That is what the public option amounts to as far as cost cutting. If there is an option that will push the greedy insurance companies to lower their costs to compete, everyone will benefit. Not too hard to figure out. That is if the Repubs who keep getting so much money from the lobbyists would stop all the bold faced lies!

    July 29, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  18. Eric

    If Obama keeps trying to shove this down our throats then he lost my vote. How about being responsible for a CHANGE.

    July 29, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  19. gregoryc

    Why is it so difficult for people to understand that reform is necessary and most everyone is in agreement on that, including the GOP. What seems to be missing in the analysis is this one question...Is congress the best suited entity to manage your health care. Congress has failed throughout history on EVERY program if has ever attempted to oversee. Let the congress reform the laws, let the professionals within the health care industry adopt new strategies to abide by them. Government needs to govern and certainly not control every aspect of our lives, especially our health and how we chose individually to address such a personal issue. Obama is nothing more than a snake-oil salesman and you are so naive is you believe otherwise.

    July 29, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  20. worriedmom

    Why would I want to believe that Health reform is gonna work out when the stimulus hasn't so far! Obama has this silver tongue and it is very obvious he is used more for campaign mode than Presidential mode. Start being truthful and maybe people will listen. It cracks me up that all you LIbs are bashing the Blue Dogs. At least you have some people that are actually concerned about the people. If you left it to Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Obama gang we would be completely broke by now!
    Libs you call Repbulcians a Party of NO, I call LIbs "Party of Hate" that is all that seems to come out of your mouths these days. I hate Repbulicans, I hate Blue Dogs, I hate Bush!
    Please go away and form your own Land of Oz and leave us alone!!

    July 29, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  21. Scott, Tucson

    If Obamacare is not good enough for him, his family and the rest of our politicians than it's surely not good enough for us Americans.

    I find it hard to accept any program these politicians are throwing at us if they would not partake in it.

    July 29, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  22. Larry

    A public option is what has the insurance companies quaking in their boots. It is the most inexpensive and most comprehensive option for people on the slate.

    Accounts are saying that most people would switch to a public option, individuals and businesses too.

    Any bill from congress has to include a public option. The insurance coops being discussed are nothing more than the status quo with a different name.

    July 29, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  23. citizen

    It'll be a Miracle if health care reform of any kind can get past the Insurance Industry thugs who are running our nation.
    But– I thought once it would be a miracle if Obama got elected!

    July 29, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  24. Terry from Texas

    Regarding the public option: Why can no Conservative ever explain why government is irreparibly inefficient? Aren't they there in Congress to make the government work efficiently? Aren't Americans capable of figuring this out?

    NASA is pretty smart. So is the weather department. The armed forces are pretty efficient. The thing is, they are not competing with any global corporation.

    Conservatives will block any government program that reduces the profits of any global corporation. If they cannot block it, they will gut it, like when they made it against the law for Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices.

    July 29, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  25. Walter

    A modest proposal: Eliminate the entire Department of Defense. Why the hell is it the federal government's job to defend the lives of U.S. citizens anyways?

    Some people think that some Americans should go without life insurance. These people think that if is just fine that cancer victims like Robin Batin should die without treatment.


    My question is, if the government shouldn't protect our lives, what exactly is the government for?

    No war in Iraq is more important than protecting our lives. Protecting high rises from terrorists is more important than protecting our lives. The war on drugs, the war against organized crime, the CDC. NONE OF THESE THINGS CAN BE MORE IMPORTANT THAN PROTECTING OUR LIVES BECAUSE THE PROTECTION OF LIFE IS THE VERY REASON FOR THESE EXPENDITURES!

    July 29, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
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