Senate Finance Chairman Tries to Shrug Off Obamacare

Right From the Start

Right From the Start

In a recent column Doug MacEachern was describing how President Barack Obama’s Five Pillars of economic recovery were, in fact, crushing employment and America’s small businesses. It’s a column worth reading because it basically cries BS on the extraordinary lies Mr. Obama told to promote his agenda. And if they aren’t lies, then they are proof positive that Mr. Obama understands less about business, jobs and the economy than any person who has held public office.

But it was a series of comments in the article about a different politician that caught my eye and rekindled my recollections of another politician.  Mr. MacEachern noted:

“Another of the pillars was health-care reform, about which the president that day said: ‘Major American corporations are struggling to compete with their foreign counterparts, and small businesses are closing their doors. We cannot allow the cost of health care to strangle our economy any longer.’

“Four years later we now see one of the president’s top reform architects, Sen. Max Baucus, D- Montana, describing his fears of the approaching introduction of the Affordable Healthcare Act. In a recent hearing, Baucus described the Act to a stone-faced Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, as a ‘huge train wreck.’”

I remember Max Baucus from the early 70’s when he came back to Montana from Washington, D.C. for the specific purpose of running for public office. Max was like many Montana rivers – a mile wide and inch deep. He was uncertain whether to run as a Republican or Democrat but after he purchased his lumberjack plaid shirt and his hiking boots he opted for the Democrats because they were the dominant force in the area of Missoula he then called home. Three decades in Congress and chairmanship of the powerful Senate Finance Committee have not made Mr. Baucus any smarter or any more principled. (Just as a reminder, chairmanship of Senate committees are based on seniority, not on skill.)

Mr. Baucus is running for re-election in Montana. He is hoping that people will forget that he was the primary sponsor of Obamacare. Let’s not kid ourselves, Mr. Baucus did not write the healthcare bill. He has difficulty stringing together three sentences let alone 2000 pages. Quite frankly he didn’t even read it. More importantly even if he had attempted to read it he wouldn’t have understood what was in it. But as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee he was one of the congressional leaders who assured his colleagues and the American public that all of what Mr. Obama promised was fulfilled in the bill – everyone would be covered, healthcare costs would go down, small business would be relieved of the tremendous burden of healthcare under the then current system, job creation would abound and all of this without raising a single tax. In the end, none of it was true.

But it goes deeper than that with Mr. Baucus. George Ochenski, a columnist for the Baucus’ hometown newspaper, The Missoulian, tied the can to Mr. Baucus’ tail in a recent article:

“What’s less obvious is why Max is puzzled about it since, after all, he was the primary sponsor of the bill. But the law, which is more than 2,000 pages long, was actually authored by Liz Fowler, formerly his top Senate staffer on health care who came to that position after serving as Vice President of Public Policy and External Affairs at WellPoint, a multi-billion dollar health insurance corporation. That explains why the measure mandates that all Americans buy health insurance pay a penalty to the IRS, which is easily the most odious part of the law. But it’s a huge boon to the insurance industry and would force as many as 32 million citizens to purchase health insurance – with or without government assistance.

“What’s even more puzzling is why Baucus would criticize the implementation of the law when Fowler left his Senate staff, went through yet another D.C. revolving door, and was hired by the Obama administration specifically to implement the law as the deputy director of the Office of Consumer Information and Oversight at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Apparently Fowler, who had no problem writing a bill to massively enrich the health insurance industry, somehow can’t figure out how to spin that simple and inescapable truth to the public who must now live under that mandate.”

Mr. Ochenski concluded by noting:

“Baucus knows that the law is vastly unpopular. He also knows that he ignored a huge sector of his core constituency when he jammed it through. Put those two things together during an election year and he sees the handwriting on the wall – he just might lose if voters hold him accountable for Obamacare.

“Baucus is right, a “train wreck” lies ahead. But remember it was Baucus who laid the tracks, built the corporate-friendly locomotives, and sent them barreling into the lives of every citizen nationwide. Suddenly he realizes the bridge to his re-election is out – and try as he might, pulling on the whistle won’t avert the impending disaster.”

So, what is it that Mr. Baucus proposes to do about this “huge train wreck”? As chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Mr. Baucus presided over the writing of Obamacare. He has all of those same resources available to him to correct the mistakes of Obamacare. But what he is going to do about it is precisely NOTHING. Having expressed his dismay that the creature he helped create is a monster, Mr. Baucus has washed his hands of any responsibility and he will campaign in Montana as if it were someone else’s fault.

Mr. Baucus is just one of the hallelujah chorus of snake oil salesmen who inhabit the United State Congress. They will say anything, do anything, and repeat anything to gain and hold power. They will ignore the obvious while staring wide-eyed at the camera and stating, “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?” And when the obvious proves to be true, they are the first to denounce that which they created.

Can there be worse human beings on this planet than those who inhabit Congress?  Max Baucus, take a bow.

[On Tuesday, Mr. Baucus announced that he will not seek another term. Even in this he still cannot tell the truth. In an interview with the Billings Gazette Mr. Baucus indicated that he had agonized for several months over whether to run again:

“I often rely on Scripture,” the Democratic senator said in an interview. “Ecclesiastes says there is a time and place for everything.”

In truth it is almost dead certainty that he has become so unpopular in Montana that he couldn’t get elected dogcatcher in 2014.]