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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Too Cute Baucus Bill Totally Useless

Here's somethings you may not know about any bill that comes out of the Senate Finance Committee. There doesn't need to be a full final bill. All there needs to be is a very detailed outline. Go to the Senate's site and this is the bill. It's 223 pages and spends half it's time comparing itself to current law. That's not a bill but rather a plan. The House Health Care bill is over one thousand pages, and it's strictly text of the bill. That's an actual bill.

Because there is no bill but rather an outline, there also won't be any Congressional Budget Office analysis. That's because there's nothing for the CBO to analyze. They can't analyze a plan. You can't put numbers behind an outline. That's what the Baucus "bill" is. It's nothing more than an outline. Remember, the Republicans wanted to put in an addendum that force the Senate Finance Committee to put the bill on line. Baucus balked saying that this could take two weeks. Of course, it would. That's because first Baucus would actually have to write the bill.

Most of those in sales have probably gone through a period of intense cold calling. Anyone that has cold called has likely far too often turned a prospect into a lead even though they knew that this prospect would never turn into a sale. The salesperson would sit on the phone convincing the other party to allow them to present an idea in the future. The prospect was likely even resistent to that. It's a way for the salesperson to make themselves feel better. That way the lead could be written up and so it looks as though work is being done. In their own mind, they feel as though their hours on the phone aren't being wasted.

That's what this Senate Finance Committee bill feels like. If there is no bill but merely a plan, then what's the point of passing it? You can't pass a plan through Congress. You actually have to pass a bill. So, this "bill" will likely make it out of committee. That will allow the President to tout another "accomplishment". The accomplishment will be as meaningless as any lead a salesperson gets merely to say they've gotten another lead. That's because a final bill would still have to be created for the full Senate. This "bill" has to be merged with the bill that came out of the Health Education Labor and Pension Committee. It's not going to be any easier to do this just because this plan passed out of the Senate Finance Committee.

Everything we've witnessed out of the Senate Finance Committee was purely for dramatic purposes. It has no legislative or political value. Nothing is settled as a result. In fact, things are less settled. The Senate Finance Committee couldn't pass the public option whereas the HELP committee did. So, one or the other will have to give. Whenever this "bill" passes, we will be in a state of just as much chaos as we were in before it passed. The entire exercise was entirely useless. The Senate Finance Committee allows for a bill to be presented in a form that's really nothing more than a detailed summary. Baucus must have felt that this form had a better chance to pass. As such, he presented a 223 page outline. That outline will likely get out of Committee. Yet, an outline is totally useless when it comes to figuring out what the final bill will be.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

http://finance.senate.gov/sitepages/leg/LEG%202009/091609%20Americas_Healthy_Future_Act.pdf

The Chairman's Mark Ups--probably even cuter.

Sounds like they are talking about creating a new agency--probably led by a CZAR!

Anonymous said...

There's a simple reason for why Baucus proposal is so loosely defined. The Democrats just plain want to pass *something* just to get it out of the hands of the most conservative committee in Congress. If this was a concrete bill, it never would have received a majority of Democrats votes. We already know that Rockefeller and Wyden hate it. They'll only vote for it just so they can be done with people like Baucus and Conrad.

The real question is what happens next. Harkin and Schumer claim there are enough votes to pass a public option, but its becoming clearer and clearer that Rahm Emanuel and Larry Summers are pushing hard on Obama to kill it. But Obama knows if he's seen as killing it, his base will abandon him entirely. So he wants to pass the buck on to Reid. Reid on the other hand probably knows what little prospect for reelection he has now will be totally destroyed if he's seen as killing it.

None of these people actually want to accomplish anything meaningful. They're scared of being branded communists but more importantly, they're scared of the health insurance lobby and its ability to make it rain on the Republicans if the Democrats cross them.