Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Health Reform End Game after Senate Finance Committee Passage

With the Senate Finance Committee’s 14-9 vote for the $829 billion Baucus Bill, the stage is now set for health reform end game. No one knows how the game will end, but it is likely to conclude with incremental rather than radical reform.

My view of end game results ?

• Costs will double in the next 10 years, , i.e. the Obama "affordability" promise will definitely die.

• Coverage will increase by roughly 25 million, i.e. "universal coverage" promise will partially live.

• Most Democrats will remain wedded to the public option.

• Most Republicans will find laughable the OMB estimate that the Baucus plan will shave $81 billion off the deficit.

• The temporary détente between the Obama administration and private health plans will flare into an all-out war.

• The final solution, which President Obama will sign into law near the end of the year, will raise taxes on the middle class, increase premiums, cut Medicare, provide little visible help for patients and doctors, tax the health care industry (health plans, drug makers, and device manufacturers), and expand federal power.

• Nobody – the AFL-CIO, the Chamber of Commerce, the health industry, seniors, the young non-payers, or consumers and doctors – will be happy with the results of the end game, which will ensure incremental rather than fundamental change and will change everything – except the status quo.

• Everybody will be looking at Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine)
As the end-game’s main refereet, which leads to this ending.


Senator Olympia Snowe, Republican of Maine, is the conservatives' bane and the liberals' gain. But Ms. Snowe insists her vote, tries to strike a bipartisan note,
Besides,to avoid partisan pratfalls, she says “When history calls, history calls.”
And she says to the Democrats' everlasting sorrow, “My vote today doesn’t forecast my vote tomorrow.” She adds she will never vote for a public option,
before a health reform bills final adoption.

Dr. Richard Reece is author, blogger, speaker, and innovation and reform commentator. Dr. Reece’s latest book, Obama, Doctors, and Health Reform ( is available at,, and for $31.95 (hardcover), $21.95 (softcover), and $6.95 (electronic). For information on speaking fees and arrangements, call 860-395-1501.

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