… but I’m glad to see that it’s actually happening. Now that all of the concessions Max Baucus made to try to win Republican votes for health care finance reform have garnered exactly zero Republican votes for health care finance reform, the Democrats on the Finance Committee (including those frozen out of the Gang of Six charade) are going to write a Democratic bill and try to pass it with purely Democratic votes (plus maybe Olympia Snowe).
There are three reasons for doing this:
– A purely Democratic plan might be substantively better: for example by having higher subisides paid for with alcohol taxes. (See below.)
– The Baucus bill might not be able to command enough Democratic votes to pass.
– By writing a bill that damages the interests Republicans hold dear, Democrats can punish Republicans for their intransigence. That will tend to lead the GOP’s corporate paymasters to encourage their tame lawmakers to behave themselves in future negotiations. If obstruction is free, the Republicans will keep obstructing.
For example, the beer distributors and the rest of the alcoholic beverage industries would really, really hate a doubling of the alchohol excise taxs. They’re also heavy contributors to Republicans campaigns. Doubling those taxes would bring in an additional $80 billion over 10 years, which would go a long way toward paying for more subsidies for middle-income families to buy health insurance. (And cut homicides and automotive deaths by several percent; higher taxes hit hardest at the drinking of heavy drinkers.)
All eyes will be watching to see if the revised bill includes a public option.
All eyes save mine, that is: what I’m really hoping for is subsidies up to 400% of poverty. Apparently Snowe wants a more generous subsidy plan.