September 17th, 2009
04:49 PM ET
14 years ago

Baucus gets support from the center

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Sen. Max Baucus revealed a health care reform plan that Wednesday does not include a public option but mandates coverage."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Senator Max Baucus stood alone on Wednesday when he introduced his summary for a health care reform bill. But one day later, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee is getting some support from the center.

Four centrist senators Thursday issued a statement praising the Montana senator's efforts to produce a reform bill that may be able to attrack bipartisan support, even though the lawmakers say they have disagreements with aspects of his proposals.

But the senators, Independent Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, Democrats Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Ben Nelson of Nebraska, and Republican Olympia Snowe of Maine, vowed to "put aside partisan views" and work to pass a health care bill.

"We commend Chairman Baucus for his efforts to forge a health care reform proposal that has the potential to gain broad bipartisan support. We are encouraged by his commitment to work with both Democrats and Republicans in the Finance Committee, and believe there is a responsibility for both sides of the aisle to work together to develop a bill that will earn strong support from the full Senate," said the senators in a joint statement Thursday.

–CNN Congressional Producer Ted Barrett contributed to this story

Joint Statement:

WASHINGTON, D.C.-Today, a bipartisan group of senators issued this statement about "The America's Healthy Future Act" proposal for health care reform released by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus of Montana:

"We commend Chairman Baucus for his efforts to forge a health care reform proposal that has the potential to gain broad bipartisan support. We are encouraged by his commitment to work with both Democrats and Republicans in the Finance Committee, and believe there is a responsibility for both sides of the aisle to work together to develop a bill that will earn strong support from the full Senate.

"Despite the differences that have emerged in this health care debate, there is much that we all agree on, including insurance market reforms that bar insurance companies from discriminating against people based on their health status or denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions. We also agree on prevention and wellness investments, critical delivery reforms like paying for quality rather than quantity, increasing access to care by improving health care provider training programs, and reducing uncompensated care by extending tax credits to American families to help pay for their health care coverage.

"Each of us has an obligation to put aside partisan views and to consider how health care reform addresses the needs and challenges faced by individual citizens and our economy as a whole. While we each have outstanding concerns we wish to see addressed, Senator Baucus has taken an important and critical step forward with this legislation. We will continue to work together in the full Senate on bipartisan health care reform that reduces costs, improves care, and expands access."

Ben Nelson Olympia J. Snowe
United States Senator, Nebraska United States Senator, Maine
Joseph I. Lieberman Claire McCaskill
United States Senator, Connecticut United States Senator, Missouri

Filed under: Health care • Max Baucus • Senate
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Luke Brown

    It doesn't solve the main problem if there isn't a "public option," even if it is only available to the 5% Obama talked about.

    Everyone involved in providing care to the uninsured in this country knows this ... and we also know that the public option is cheaper than what it is costing us now.

    With the huge numbers of uninsured in Maine, Senator Snowe should be taking the lead on the public option.

    September 17, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  2. Darth Vadik, CA

    Mandating coverage?

    Why don't you mandate caps on insurance premiums then?

    This is such a Republican thing to do (I could care less who introduced it). To make the numbers look better (meaning to seem like we have less people without coverage), WE'LL JUST MAKE IT ILLEGAL NOT TO HAVE HEALTHCARE COVERAGE.

    Why don't I just give my bank routing number directly to the insurance companies and make it easier on everybody.


    September 17, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  3. Mike O'Brien

    I am embarrassed.., Senator Max Baucus is my senator in my state of Montana. I am sorry, he, Senator Max Baucus is dead wrong concerning his 'gang of six', although now, I think its a 'gang of one' concerning the new health care reform legislation bill. Without the 'Public Option' in the health care bill, there will still be, millions of americans, without health care insurance. My question to Max is, "Who do you work for, your state of Montana constituents or the big corporate 'greedy' health care and pharmaceutical companies ?". We know that you have received the most money from the health care insurance and pharmaceutical companies, than any other Senator in the Senate. Who do you work for ? Obviously, not us. Mike in Montana

    September 17, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  4. Bob in Pa

    Max baby,
    You're still out of the ballpark on price and taxes.

    September 17, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  5. Laura in KS

    Now this is what America needs right now–goodwill, compromise, and a demonstrated willingness to work together for the good of all our citizens.

    September 17, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  6. hmmm

    i don't know, but it appears that the only appealing bipartisan healthcare plan is the one that excludes public option. Without this option, i don't see how this would benefit struggling Americans. I've skimmed thru the plan, and i'm not sold. What's this medicare buy-in option. Are we going to force those low-income senior citizens to now purchase something they currently recieve at not cost? You can bet i'm going to peruse this plan and immediately contact my state rep with others.

    September 17, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  7. Lila

    From what I've read, this bill is a heaping pile of crap. It allows for more of the same corrupt system.

    September 17, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  8. centerleft

    Sen. Baucus health insurance reform is a sellout to the middle class families of America.

    September 17, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  9. Jim

    CNN's description of those senators that want a health care bill but no non-profit insurance plan as "centrist" bothers me. The "centrists" claim to be worried about taxpayers but the public option is the cheapest and easiest way to drive down costs for the taxpayers. These "centrists" are defending the interests of insurance companies.

    September 17, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  10. venise Berry

    Why hasn't anyone suggested paying for the health care plan by taxing hard liquor, beer and wine which has the same negative health effects as tobacco which is taxed to death?

    September 17, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  11. joe blow

    force me to buy ever more expensive and inadequate insurance from these private companies that have driven our health care system into crisis or pay an exorbitant penalty. now that's freedom. thanks but no thanks. btw, does the bill address benefit denials and "usual and customary charges" which these insurers have used to pad their profits? now that would be real reform.

    September 17, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  12. S Callahan

    Glad to hear this....yes, it's purley a framework job right now...and disagreements is what will refine and define this to emerge as a true bill. Now, for all those naysayers...take the time to read, really read, the bill...make your notes and get discussing things. For goodness sake, I may be dead without insurance by the time you approve this!

    September 17, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  13. vic nashville , Tn

    Ok they put the foundation now they build top of that

    September 17, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  14. rev

    "Baucus gets support from the center...." of the Insurance Companies, HMO's, lobbyists and politicians in the pockets of the aforementioned crooks. His plan is a watered down attempt to foster the current failing system by rewarding the insurance companies and making sure no one ever gets away from them.

    September 17, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  15. Aunt Bea and Opie

    Max is not center.Hes so far up the insurance companies backside,he should be considered their hemorrhoid.This guy is the lowest human ive seen yet.

    September 17, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  16. Centrist

    Congress is very close to passing health-care reforms for the American people–keep up the great work!

    Sen. Baucus' version definitely needs some tweaks–replace cooperatives with a trigger for the public option supported by the majority of Americans.

    Let's get health-care passed this time, as it appears we are getting there! Yes we can!!

    September 17, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  17. D. Tree

    The Baucus Bill forces Americans to purchase "Junk Insurance."

    Its just a bailout for the insurance industry, NOT for the American consumer.

    If I am to be required to buy insurance, I should be given the choice of an affordable Public Option. That's the real way to save money!

    September 17, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  18. Independent

    Finally we find a few elected officials who are willing to behave like adults

    September 17, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  19. Proud Member..Party of No

    OK, OK, maybe we should give old Max a mulligan and see if he can come up with a bill that somebody might like. He certainly failed on the first go-round.

    September 17, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  20. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    I am shocked– shocked– that any self-respecting Member of Congress would stoop to the low level tactics of "centrism" to pass legislation most of us agree is needed. What's next– compromise, realistic expectations, rising above partisanship?

    September 17, 2009 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  21. Eugene

    Perhaps this is better entitled, Insurance Executives Cheer on their Man, or You Don't Get $1million from Insurance Excecutives for Nothing.

    September 17, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  22. The Voice

    It is a good bill. And I am glad/surprised to see some Republicans supporting it. Lets get this bill through!

    September 17, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  23. dinah

    The inclusion of a coop plan is a weak substitute for a government run option. We had coops years ago and they have all but disappeared. Savings were not great and we had to deal with physician networks which might or might not include your regular doctor or the specialist your doctor might want you to see. I sincerely hope this plan does not take off.

    September 17, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  24. USA

    No public option, no bill.

    September 17, 2009 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  25. Peoples Voice

    We do not need Republican approval. Stop wasting time trying to get them to participate. They just ain't going to do it.

    September 17, 2009 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
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