The Atlantic Wire already brought the raw responses to the Baucus bill, pundits' opinions on the 5 worst parts of the proposal, and pundits' opinions on the 5 best parts of the proposal. But if you're pressed for time and want an overview, which are the must-reads?
Without further ado, here are the big points of the Baucus debate, the dynamic views of the moment in the opinion world:
- A 'Gift' for Insurance Industries ... And Maybe for the Public Option? On Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Wendell Potter, the former Vice President of Corporate Communications at health insurance company CIGNA, said the bill was so favorable to his former employers that it "looked at first like it might have been written by the lobbyists and the lawyers for the health insurance industry," except that "I don't think they would have been quite this audacious." But here's the flip side: the public option "is not dead," he observed, and "there may be so much outrage and pushback to this bill that it may give the public option a new lease on life."
- 5 Ways to Improve the Baucus Bill Ezra Klein has been all over this bill. His verdict: "Max Baucus's bill is a very good platform with some very severe failings." Klein also has five suggestions for how to address those failings:
- "Kill the 'free' rider' provision."
- "Increase the subsidies."
- "Phase in Ron Wyden's Free choice amendment."
- "Create real competition in the insurance industry."
- "Create incentives for bipartisanship."
- Republicans: Take This While You Can. Vote Baucus. Joe Weisenthal is another that has taken the plan apart at length. Calling the bill "already DOA," he advised Republicans, as a "strategic move," to throw their weight behind Baucus's proposal even though "it goes against Republican philosophy." Why? "Eventually, if current trends persist, it's going to be easy to get a single-payer, universal healthcare bill passed, the likes of which is favored by the far left. ... The Baucus plan," on the other hand, "is far from ideal, but if it passes, it's likely that government-run health insurance will be dead." It "would take us down a totally different path."
- CBO Says Reduces Deficit, If Followed One of the most important opinions--and the most talked about--came not from any pundit or journalist, but from the Congressional Budget Office, which conducted its own analysis of the plan. "All told," the CBO Director's Blog read, "the Chairman's proposal would reduce the federal deficit by $16 billion in 2019 ... after that, the added revenues and cost savings are projected to grow more rapidly than the cost of the coverage expansion." Great, right? But there's a catch: "These projections assume that the proposals are enacted and remain unchanged throughout the next two decades, which is often not the case for major legislation."
- To Be Determined As of yet, the Atlantic Wire hasn't been able to pin down a debate-changing response from the conservative side, although the National Review editors offered a denunciation of the plan as "another version of Obamacare." Meanwhile, we'll open it up to our readers: what's the No. 1 conservative opinion on the Baucus bill?