Newspaper logo  
 
 
Local Stories, Events

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Books, Films, Arts & Education
Letters

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

06.22 'Washing is a privilege': life on the frontline of India's water crisis

06.21 China Just Handed the World a 111-Million-Ton Trash Problem [we must switch to bioplastics ASAP]

06.21 Some rare good climate news: the fossil fuel industry is weaker than ever

06.20 ALEC’s Deadly Asbestos Agenda Benefits Koch Industries, Nationwide [the sociopaths are at it again]

06.18 Flooding from sea level rise threatens over 300,000 US coastal homes – study

06.16 Delhi's air pollution is now so bad it is literally off the chart [an increasingly deadly problem]

06.16 Former Bank of Canada Head: Pipeline Protesters May Be Killed. So Be It.

06.15 What if Canada had backed wind energy instead of the oil sands? [infographic]

06.14 The rate of Antarctic melting has nearly tripled in the past five years

06.14 The legal fight to leave the dirtiest fossil fuels in the ground

06.12 Our plastic pollution crisis is too big for recycling to fix

06.12 Giant African baobab trees die suddenly after thousands of years

News Media Matters

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

06.23 Recognizing the Neoliberal Roots at the Heart of Trump's Cruel and Inhumane Border Policies

06.23 National Suicide Point?

06.22 As 'Wealthiest and Freest Country in the World,' Nikki Haley Tells Bernie Sanders It's 'Ridiculous' to Examine US Poverty [how underregulated capitalism kills people and entire nations]

06.22 50 Years Later, We Still Have a Dream [how underregulated capitalism kills people and entire nations]

06.21 Migrants in Detention Are Suffering Widespread Abuse and Neglect

06.21 James Comey: 'You stare at children crying – what kind of people are we?’ [We have stupidly allowed bribery and greed to corrupt government to the point where morality—and what's best for people is totally ignored...is considered too late.]

Justice Matters
High Crimes?

06.23 Gang raped and set on fire: ICC pushes to investigate Myanmar Rohingya atrocities

06.17 Coalition Ignores Famine Warnings and Continues Assault on Yemen as Critics Question US Complicity [BARBARISM]

Economics, Crony Capitalism

06.22 The Unsurpassed Power Trip by an Insuperable Control Freak: An Open Letter to Jeff Bezos [how underregulated capitalism kills people and entire nations]

06.19 'CEOs don't want this released': US study lays bare extreme pay-ratio problem

06.16 As AT&T-Time Warner Close Deal, Floodgates 'Wide Open' for Corporate Mega-Mergers

06.16 Social mobility in richest countries 'has stalled since 1990s'

International & Futurism

06.23 World to Refugees: Go to Hell

06.23 Top Six Dictators who also Divided Children from Parents like Trump/Sessions [joining the Elite Sociopaths Club]

06.23 North Korea Agreed to Denuclearize, But US Refuses Despite Treaty Obligation

06.23 The Billionaire Class is Not Fit to Rule – Paul Jay [14:31 video]

06.22 SHE NAMED HER CHILD “ENOUGH”

06.22 Europe’s democrats must unite to prevent a far-right takeover [how underregulated capitalism kills people and entire nations]

06.21 Trump’s Astonishing Reversal Is No Solution

06.21 Basic income could work—if you do it Canada-style

We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival.

You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581
Google
This site Web
  Max Baucus Should Not Be Deciding Health Care for America
Newspaper logo

VIEWPOINT:

Max Baucus Should Not Be Deciding Health Care for America

The “Senator for K Street” is Putting Campaign Donor Profits Ahead of the Basic Needs of the People

by Kevin Zeese
31 May 2009


Why aren’t single payer advocates allowed to testify before Baucus’ committee? Follow the money.

Senator Max Baucus and the Senate Finance Committee are too corrupted by corporate health industry profiteers donations to give America the health care policy it needs.

Health care is 15% of the U.S. gross domestic product. U.S. health care expenditures, which have been rising rapidly for several years, surpassed $2.4 trillion in 2007, more than three times the $714 billion spent in 1990. The cost of health care is projected to reach $4.4 trillion by 2018. There is a lot of room for corporate profiteering in the increasing cost of health care. The millions the health care industry has invested in Baucus and the Senate Finance Committee could therefore turn out to be very profitable.

It is evident that any bill that comes out of the Senate Finance Committee will be a pro-industry bill that will ensure trillions in profits for the health insurance industry, HMOs and the pharmaceutical industry.

Baucus has held two hearings so far and has refused to allow advocates for the most popular reform—a single payer national health policy—to even testify. Single payer "improved Medicare for all" is favored by more than 60% of Americans as well as majorities of doctors, nurses and economists. It is the most cost-effective and efficient way to provide health care to all Americans from cradle to grave.

Why aren’t single payer advocates allowed to testify before Baucus’ committee? Follow the money. Campaign donations explain why, and demonstrate that the Senate Finance Committee should not be in charge of health care. Senator Reid should remove the health care reform bill from Baucus and start all over before the Health Committee in the Senate.

Here’s why Baucus is not doing the people's business:

According to OpenSecrets.org, over his career he has taken donations from:

  • The Insurance Industry: $1,170,313
  • Health Professionals: $1,016,276
  • Pharmaceuticals/Health Products Industry: $734,605
  • Hospitals/Nursing Homes: $541,891
  • Health Services/HMOs: $439,700
Baucus has shown his bias and should be removed from leading the health care reform effort by the Democratic Party leadership.

That is a grand total of $3,902,785. Can we trust Baucus to put aside the profits of the industries that have kept him in the Senate? Will he put the people’s necessities ahead of the profits of his contributors? Baucus has shown his bias and should be removed from leading the health care reform effort by the Democratic Party leadership.

In 2008 Baucus had virtually no challenger in Montana. A little-known Republican was on the ballot, and Baucus won with 73% of the vote. But, Baucus sought big donations from big business anyway. He used his connections to corporations with business before his committee to raise an immense campaign fund of more than $11 million. In 2008, 91% of his donations come from individuals living outside of Montana, which is why he is more the “Senator for K Street” then the Senator for Montana. Corporate health profiteers who invested in Baucus will now benefit from his stewardship over health care reform. His 2008 donations from health care profiteers included:

  • Insurance: $592,185
  • Health Professionals: $537,141
  • Pharmaceuticals/Health Products: $524,813
  • Health Services/HMOs: $364,500
  • Hospitals/Nursing Homes: $332,826

That is $1,826,652 Baucus took from these industries, and now he can reward them by deforming health care reform.

The health care profiteers knew that Baucus would determine their fate and ponied up. Now the only thing standing between them and their payback is a single payer national health care plan. Yet single payer, which would end private insurance and control the cost of pharmaceutical drugs, is not being considered—not even allowed to participate in the conversation before Baucus.

It is not just the chairman of the committee who has received massive donations. The full Finance Committee is a gluttonous embarrassment of campaign pay-offs. In 2008 the committee members received a total of $13,263,986 from industries affected by health care reform. Can we trust this committee to put the interests of the people before their donors?

The donations to the Finance Committee in 2008 included:

  • Insurance: $5,103,900
  • Pharmaceuticals/Health Products: $3,308,831
  • Hospitals/Nursing Homes: $2,809,353
  • Health Services/HMOs: $2,041,902

These industries expect to be rewarded with billions, even trillions, in profits and hundreds of millions in corporate welfare. Senator Baucus’s behavior shows they have made a good investment—they've bought themselves a senator who should be called Chairman Blagojevich. He is doing his best to make sure the single payer message is not heard because he knows it is the fairest, most efficient and cost-effective way to ensure health care access for all Americans—but he can't let that be implemented because it would put some of his donors out of business and control the profits of others.

It is time to remove Baucus from the leadership of health care reform. It is time to move the critically important priority of reforming America’s health care system from the Finance Committee and put it before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. At least their mission is health care, not money.


Kevin Zeese is the executive director of the FreshAirCleanPolitics.net, which is urging a single payer national health care system as part of its ProsperityAgenda.US project. Along with seven others, Zeese was arrested when he testified from the audience of a recent Senate Finance Committee meeting on health care. See the video on YouTube.



Copyright © 2009 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.

This story was published on May 31, 2009.

 

Public Service Ads: