ObamaCare Author Max Baucus Sees "Huge Train Wreck" Coming For Health Law


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The latest sign ObamaCare's implementation isn't going well? Even its chief legislative author thinks it's heading for disaster.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act—the legislation more commonly known as ObamaCare—had many authors, but chief among them was Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee. When Baucus at admitted in 2010 that he had not read every page of the final health care legislation, his staff went on defense, insisting that the senator "wrote the bill that passed the Finance Committee" and then worked on the final version, which was grown out of the Finance Committee bill. If there's any one legislator who can legitimately claim to be the law's author, it's Baucus.

So it's worth paying attention when Baucus says that he thinks the process of setting up the law's health insurance exchanges is marching towards catastrophe. At a Senate hearing on Wednesday morning, Baucus said he is "concerned that not every state, including Montana, will have an insurance marketplace established in time." And he warned Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that he sees "a huge train-wreck coming down."

Given the lack of confidence coming from officials in charge of implementing the law, the worries expressed by health insurance industry executives who are supposed to sell through the exchanges, the delay of a key component of the small-business exchanges, and the recent revelation that building the exchanges has already cost twice as much as expected, this is not exactly surprising.

It is, however, something of a crow-eating moment for Baucus—or at least it should be. At the same town meeting where he said he had not read the entire text of the final law, he also insisted that critics of the bill would change their tune. "It's not perfect, nothing's perfect, but I'm telling you, ma'am, it's a good start," he said to a woman expressing concerns about the health law. "Mark my words, several years from now you're going to look back and say, 'eh, maybe it isn't so bad.'" Several years later, it looks as if maybe it is.

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  1. It is my understanding that they knew that all of these problems existed and were trying to fix them. But after the Brown special election, they knew they were doomed if they didn’t pass something right then. So they passed what amounted to a half assed draft bill that even its supporters knew was horrible and going to be a train wreck.

    The country as they say is in the best of hands.

    1. “So they passed what amounted to a half assed draft bill that even its supporters knew was horrible and going to be a train wreck.”

      And hoped to blame it on someone else.

      1. “And hoped to blame it on someone else.”

        And they still hope to do that.

        They are and will continue to try blaming it all on the “obstructionist” Republicans.

  2. Welcome to the party, pal.

    How is it that we’re the assholes for being right on this three or four years ago?

    1. Allow me, Brett: “FYTW.”

      1. Yeah. The question is pretty rhetorical.

      2. Shouldn’t that be “Fuck you that’s how?”

  3. The real trainwreck is going to be the perverse effects of the law on the health care and health insurance markets, and the subsequent rise in insurance premiums, and the budgetary impact that will entail.

    1. Everyone’s insurance rates are going to go through the roof. People are going to go insane when this hits. I really don’t think people understand how big of a deal this is going to be. The entire middle and upper middle class is going to see their standard of living fall.

      It is going to produce a political tidal wave that will make 94, 08 and 10 seem tame.

      1. Yes, and consider the fact that the law promises to subsidize up to 60% of premiums. Which is what will trigger the real fiscal crisis.

      2. A lot of people actually think Obamacare will make their health insurance cheaper. They are in for a very rude awakening.

      3. The entire middle and upper middle class is going to see their standard of living fall.

        The point; you have found it.

      4. John, your comment prompted me to wonder whether the entire ObamaCare bullshit is really a smoke screen to distract all of us from something ELSE that’s going on that we don’t even know about…

        No, I’m not a conspiracy theorist; I just am good at seeing patterns…

    2. The effects are spilling over into the employment marketplace in general.

      Full-time jobs in Retail are ending because of Obamacare.


      1. This really is the worst law ever passed. I can’t think of another law that has done more immediate and obvious harm to so many people than this law. Millions of people are going to lose their full time jobs and be stuck in temporary no benefit jobs and millions of more are going to see their health insurance rates nearly double because of this. And that is just the beginning. It is actually much worse than even its worst critics said it would be.

        The only upside is that it is so bad that almost no one will benefit from it. So it will never get more popular or being anything but hated. The idiots who were saying this bill was going to buy the Dems a permanent majority bey creating another beloved entitlement program were woefully wrong.

        1. The idiots who were saying this bill was going to buy the Dems a permanent majority bey creating another beloved entitlement program were woefully wrong.

          One awaits the spin about how the sequestering Repubs wouldn’t allow proper implementation, or something.

          I don’t know if it’s the *worst* law ever passed; but anyone who tried to read *the actual legislation* would have to agree it’s horrible.

          1. Whoa, slow down there Rich. Reading legislation is crazy. If you want to know if a bill is horrible or not, you just pass it. Then you’ll find out what is in when it happens.

            1. It would be awesome if some fun-lovin’ staffer sneaked in something like “Every signer of this legislation will be required to be tarred and feathered by volunteers upon it being enacted”.

          2. that spin already started.


            1. You come and clean up the vomit on my keyboard for making me read that.

              1. You come and clean up the vomit on my keyboard for making me read that.

                Hey he didn’t force you to click that link. Let that be a lesson to you: never click a thinkprogress.org link.

                1. I saw a link containing the words “think” and “progress” and declined.

            2. From the link:
              “employees will only have one coverage choice in 2014 and won’t see more plans until the following year,”

              Notice they didn’t say there ever would be more than one, just that there won’t be until ‘later’.

            3. The comments are a few steps below HuffPo:

              Jackie Rawlings ? Top Commenter
              Philp I’m follow the talk and how everything is money and cost yet it works just fine in Mass. with the Romneycare. speaking of money Obama, his staff and appointees all take a pay cut even when they were hired at lower salaries then previous Administrations. We all have to cut back and take care of our health. I just join boomers dance class with the Obamacare program.

              I don’t even….

              Dawn Swift-Sadlowski ? Top Commenter
              My husband made the point it is just REFORM and REGULATION on the insurance companies so they give you the services you pay for and not screw you out of the money you paid into them.

              you are no longer turned down because of prior illness, kids stay on the plans longer if in college, woman the life givers are taking care of before and after giving birth, basic checks ups to keep cost down are now free.

              Ow, my brain.

              1. Missed one:

                Ronjazz Murray? Top Commenter (signed in using Hotmail)
                It was Republicans’ stated goal to destroy the Presidency, thus the USA. Fortunately, they’re weak, impotent, incompetent, disorganized and insane.

                1. You know, if I had more free time and no life I would totally go troll the shit out of that site.

              2. Listen Brandon, if you think you’re buying a bunch of services that the company never agreed to give you then they don’t give them to you, they are screwing you. Duh. And if they refuse to let you buy anything in the first place, they are obviously screwing you out of services that you pay for. What is so hard to understand about this?

                Please excuse me while I go down some whiskey.

              3. Women, the life givers.

                I excuse me, I have some heeby jeebies that need to be shaken out.

                1. What, you didn’t realize that women are able to re-produce completely asexually, not man required? Why do you think feminists view all hetersecual sex as rape? It’s just a tool of TEH PATRIARCHY to keep women down.

                2. That’s woman the life givers. I’m so glad my mother saw fit to create me all on her own and in the image of the dude that would be paying for her hospital bills.

              4. you are no longer turned down because of prior illness,

                I wonder what she would say if you poiinted out that you are no longer turned town because of CURRENT illness.

                I people think that the ban on excluding “prexisting conditions” only means PAST illnesses then they rae deeply misinformed.

      2. Yeah, it’s happening, and the progs are passing it off as “whining” by companies cutting hours. Calling it whining isn’t going to change economic reality, though. (The comments in the linked article are actually encouraging, especially considering it’s MSN.)

        1. Like those kulaks who whined when we took their farm equipment away so more equitable and utilitarian decisions could be made. If they had simply went along and not obstructed the process with their weak, impotent, disorganized, greedy and insane protest millions of people would not have starved to death in the Ukraine.

          1. Well, the kulaks were supposed to produce EVEN MORE grain without the tractors.

            The modern “environmental” movement makes the same argument.

  4. It is, however, something of a crow-eating moment for Baucus?or at least it should be.

    I am sure he (and the usual suspects) will blame libertarians instead.

    1. He’s not eating crow, he’s campaigning. He tacks conservative on a couple of issues for which his vote/opinion affects no real change, which garners him big “Maverick” press releases, then gets voted back into office and continues on his merry way. This way “Team Red” Montanans can pretend that they vote for the person instead of voting party line. Thanks to the short, short memory of the average voter, it’s worked for 36 years.

  5. Take your pick at who’s to blame:
    1) Bush
    2) Tea Baggers
    3) Libertarians
    4) Rethuglicans

      1. (6) Greedy (fill in the blank)

      2. 6) All of them, plus evil corporations.

        1. Doc, you misspelled that – it is KKKorporashuns!

          Also, shouldn’t the Koch Borthers be in there somewhere?

          1. er, “Brothers”.

            Not sure what a “Borther” is…

  6. This is off topic but I wanted to be at the top of a comment section. I know Kennesaw, GA has a rule requiring heads of household to own a firearm (subject to certain exclusions). Does anyone know of an HOA or land development that has put in covenants/ rules requiring (following the ownership of land in perpetuity). I currently live in Maryland and inquiring minds would like to know if this has been done, or if it could be done. I think such a community would be a great place to live and a model for others to follow (assuming it didn’t have a lot of the other problems associated with HOAs).

    1. *covenants requiring all current and future land owners to own and maintain a firearm.

    2. I currently live in Maryland

      Perhaps you should e-mail your question to Marin O’Malley.

      1. Being stuck in a hell hole makes people think of creative ways to carve out privately owned places that aren’t as bad.

          1. Looks like something I’d enjoy. Thank you.

    3. Given the SCOTUS decision on the commerce clause argument on ObamaCare, I doubt such a law would survive constitutional muster, although maybe you could sneak it in under the power to raise and support armies.

      1. That is at the federal level. The stats have general police power. It probably would stand at the state level, depending on the State Constitution.

    4. You can do it. Its no more onerus than requiring someone to pay for a privacy fence rather than chain link. Just grandfather in the current owners and say all *new* members must comply with the new covenant.

  7. “…several years from now you’re going to look back and say, ‘eh, maybe it isn’t so bad.”

    Of course that will be AFTER the zombie apocolypse, so anything that doesn’t involve the undead eating your brain isn’t going to look “so bad.”

    1. Oh,. you just said something about the apocalypse, where are your children, CPS wants to know.

    2. I, personally, am looking forward to participating in the re-enactment of the Vandals sacking Rome played out in DC for exactly the same reason: the Empire can’t stop people they promised free shit to that they now can’t deliver from just taking it from the connected class.

  8. …he also insisted that critics of the bill would change their tune.

    So really the only thing he got wrong was who would end up changing their tune.

  9. Simply stated, we will stand idly by as Senator Baucus warns us that he sees “a huge train-wreck coming down.”

    /Kathleen Sebelius

  10. I think Suder-man, and generally the comments on this thread, are inappropriately spinning Baucus’s comments. He’s levying no complaints about the law, just its administration.

    Yes, you know and I know that fumbled administration of an overly complex scheme is to be expected. But still, Baucus is not vilifying the law itself. Wake me up when he takes some responsibility for his actions, instead of finding fault in others.

    1. What is happening are a fully foreseeable consequences of the law.

      Consequences that were predicted on this website and other websites where economic principles are understood.

      We were derided for predicting those consequences by Baucus, Pelosi, Biden, Obama, Reid and the rest of the gang.

      Now that the predictions are coming true, they are looking for others to blame.

      1. Now that the predictions are coming true, they are looking for others to blame.

        Maybe. But Bauchus states that the fault lies in the implementation of the law, not in the law itself. Suder-man’s headline and article are completely misleading on this point.

        They will never take ownership of the problems.

        1. They will never take ownership of the problems.


          They’ll simply claim it can be fixed with MOAR MONEY.

  11. ‘eh, maybe it isn’t so bad.”

    This was the best thing he could say about it before it became an undeniable train wreck?

    1. It’s better than the when the guy who is in charge of the exchange system saying that his hope is that it isn’t a 3rd world experience.

  12. We need to dispose of this quaint notion that legislators write legislation. Legislative staffs write legislation based on broad requirements from deals that legislators make among themselves and lobbyists. Legislators make deals and go on boondoggles, but I would bet the vast majority don’t actually work on the bills in any real detail. Those details are worked out between Congressional staff, government agency reps, and lobbyists.

    Talking about legislators writing bills is as old fashioned as saying they represent their constituents’ opinions in the national Legislature.

    1. They take credit for writing bills. and they are presumed to write bills. And they authorize the bills. Therefore it is not inappropriate to blame them for the bills.

      1. You crazy fool! Next you’ll say that they should be responsible for the cost of the bills.

    2. Remember, the problem with Legislative term-limits (at least when FL implemented them) is that lobbyists will end up writing all the bills!

  13. So, they’re NOT bending the cost curve?

    1. Bending up is still bending.

      1. I thought it was more of a “spiking” upward?

  14. Obviously as those know here it isn’t a “good start”, it is the wrong direction. The problem is that if there are changes, there is a good chance it would only be a *partial rollback* of Obamacare, it wouldn’t be a full free market healthcare approach. The likely result will be healthcare prices still rise, and Democrats then dupe the public into thinking that mythical “deregulation” made things worse (or at least didn’t help).

    Liberals fear corporate influence on politics, so they need to be taught the flaws in the healthcare system are due to a vast amount of crony capitalism they don’t realize exists. That is implicit in may free market healthcare writings, but not their focus. Here are details on the problems on the healthcare system showing why prices rise and Obamacare will make things worse, including a few bits not seen elsewhere:


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