Baucus: Obamacare better than what we had, here to stay and can be fixed

2013-12-15T06:00:00Z 2014-05-22T16:29:47Z Baucus: Obamacare better than what we had, here to stay and can be fixedBy MIKE DENNISON IR State Bureau Helena Independent Record
December 15, 2013 6:00 am  • 

U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, who famously worried eight months ago that the rollout of the Affordable Care Act’s major components this year might be a “huge train wreck,” looks something like a reluctant prophet now.

But in an interview last week, Baucus — one of the law’s chief architects — said he still stands strongly behind the law, and that it’s not going away.

The botched rollout of the ACA’s online marketplace for individual health-insurance policies this fall and other missteps and delays on various ACA rules and regulations are nothing to be proud of, Baucus said.

But if those who care about ensuring that all Americans have affordable health coverage buckle down and work on it, problems can be fixed, he said.

“You have two choices in life: Try, or do nothing,” Baucus said. “Myself, and others, and the (Obama) administration just have to keep working on this, so it basically works. Why did we do this in the first place? To make sure when people get sick, they can go see a doctor or go to the hospital. …

“There is no question this law was the right thing to do. … (The law) is here, it’s with us. The goal is to make it work. It’s not going to be repealed.”

Baucus, D-Mont., chairs the Senate Finance Committee and led the effort in the Senate in 2009 and 2010 to craft the ACA, also known as “Obamacare.” He spent months and years before that working with health-industry interests and others in studying potential reforms, anticipating a push for major reforms of the nation’s system of health coverage and care.

Baucus is up for re-election next year, but announced in April he will not run, bringing to an end a 36-year career in the Senate and 40 years in Congress.

His announcement that he wouldn’t run for re-election came just five days after he told U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at a Senate hearing that he feared the administration was headed for a “train wreck” on implementing the ACA.

Baucus told Sebelius he’d been encountering widespread confusion and uncertainty among Montana businesses, accountants, consumers and others on how the law would work as its main components became effective in late 2013 and early 2014.

Last week, Baucus said he expects enrollment in individual health policies through the online marketplaces to continue to improve in the coming weeks and months. It’s clear a big demand exists for the policies, judging from the interest in the website, he said.

However, he also said it’s important to remember the online marketplace services just a small part of the health-insurance market — perhaps 5 percent to 10 percent.

The ACA is much more than the online marketplace, Baucus said, such as its ban on insurers denying coverage or charging people more for pre-existing health conditions, limits on insurer profits and improved drug benefits for senior citizens.

While polls shows the ACA remains unpopular among a majority of Americans and Montanans, he said when you ask people about these and other individual elements of the law, they tend to support them.

“Compared to what we had prior to the Affordable Care Act, I think we’re in better shape,” he said. “It’s coming along. … People are going to get health insurance who could not get it before. People who have catastrophic illnesses are going to get covered.”

Baucus acknowledged that U.S. health care — and coverage — continues to be incredibly expensive, but said the ACA includes incentives to revamp medical-payment systems that reward providers for quality rather than quantity, with an eye toward reducing those costs.

He also noted that growth in health care costs, while still outpacing inflation, has declined in the past few years, and that the latest government projections show the ACA should hasten that trend, by tens of billions of dollars over the next five years.

As for problems with the law, Baucus said he remains ready and willing to tackle them as they come up, but said “it may take a little time for things to settle out a bit, and see what major changes should be made.”

Fixing the website is a task for the Obama administration, he said, but consumers should not be penalized for not having a policy if it’s not their fault. When asked if that means he’s open to adjusting the law’s mandate that all Americans must have or buy coverage by 2014, Baucus said yes.

Another part of the law that bears re-examination is its requirement that employers with 50 or more full-time employees buy coverage for those employees by 2015, he said.

“There’s going to be a list (of things that may need fixing) in the first part of next year,” Baucus said. “Let’s just see what it looks like next year. Look at all of the changes we’ve made to Medicare and Social Security (over the years). We made changes to help people, to maintain it and to make it a lot better.”

Baucus repeated that, for him, there’s no going back — and he hopes opponents of the law eventually will acknowledge that as well.

“Pretty soon, we’re going to reach a tipping point where it’s here, and it’s no longer a political issue,” he said of the ACA. “I’ll be very happy when we reach that point, and we’re not there yet.”

Copyright 2016 Helena Independent Record. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(44) Comments

  1. F-22
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    F-22 - December 26, 2013 9:37 am

  2. skooter
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    skooter - December 24, 2013 5:09 pm
    Boy a lot of heavy innuendo here Mr Warplane. Stick with me…I'm trying to keep with you: You may be stewing, but it's only because you're only making chicken little soup for the scared soul to serve at the soup line in your mind.

    TA-DA!! Whadda think? We got a whole boiling/pot/soup thing going, right…right?!

    Look I'm a liberal so I've obviously never had a job, but can you quit yours and we take this awesome political comedy act out on the road? You'll have to pay for every thing on the trip of course.
  3. F-22
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    F-22 - December 22, 2013 9:05 am
    Skooter, you seem dazed and confused, in that the ACA is an enemy of a single party and a champion of another, and that this will somehow save the planet as we know it. Though heavily politicized, this doesn't boil down to politics comrade. Enjoy the slow boil, cause we're almost in the same pot; almost.
  4. skooter
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    skooter - December 21, 2013 11:56 am
    OH! I know! I know! It's because they didn't lie.

    You're stuck in your little snow globe of outrage and convinced that fox and the rabid right have honestly told you all of the ways in which to claim this is "the worse law ever" and the end of time etc…

    You're just in a conservative echo chamber listening to a small minority of your own cronies scream the same things at each other…things you were told by the right for the very reason that if they don't bring this down they will be even more removed from power than they were after causing the latest depression/recession in 2007.

    This is what is called GRASPING. And the graspers need you to vent your spleens in outrage to build up the false chorus and keep little bits of this silliness on the radar for as long as possible. Sorta like the same faint but still audible outrage over bailing out GM (which was a huge success, paid off at a profit to us... and originally started by George Bush to his ultimate credit) and the misinformation you all still spread about that. If you'd look outside the snow globe there is already plenty of evidence of ACA working for Americans, and not just the poor, but those that tend to get hit the hardest by health care costs…the middle class, entrepreneur class and small business owners.

    Again, if ACA is bad or radical (it's neither) they'd be kicking back and watching it fail for political gain in every election for the next 10 if it were. They've pinned their political fortunes on this and they'd rather bet down to the felt than cut their losses and get back to running a government. You're party has a bad gambling problem (and a leadership problem, and an empathy problem, and an ethics problem, etc…you get the picture).

    What's worse if you claim that the left has paid for the press (it hasn't, but let's just play 'what if' to placate you), then what are you getting paid with? Oh yeah, if the right wins the debate you'll get their glorious health care alternatives (nothing) and the same team back in the ballgame who tanked the economy 6 years ago with austerity politics, huge deficits and tax cuts for the rich to get richer while we paid the freight (and some draconian morality laws whoopee!!)... and they aren't even ashamed of telling you that's the absolute only play in their playbook either. A failure agenda from the failed….that's your windfall!
  5. Honestabe1776
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    Honestabe1776 - December 18, 2013 10:12 pm
    Helena IR and Mr. Mike reporter, you should be ashamed in this article. Looks like Max sent this article to you to publish it. Now we all understand-China. We no longer have a free press. A press that is paid for by Democrats and a press that has no backbone to ask real questions. Both Baucus and Tester shared the same lies as Obama on obamafraud but no reporter in Montana can ask them why they lied??
  6. JVH77
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    JVH77 - December 18, 2013 5:45 pm
    They won't pay anywhere near $200. And you haven't seen any ads because they aren't aimed at you. Unless you're watching Tosh.o and MTV you probably won't see them as they are mainly buying ad space on programs the people they're trying to reach are watching. I've seen them and they are ridiculous and offensive.
  7. dietz1963
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    dietz1963 - December 18, 2013 12:18 pm
    Those millions of dollars conservative groups supposely are spending on campaign ads must not be very effective. Haven't seen one TV commercial opposing the ACA but lots supporting it. Since the ACA went active, my email spam has gone up quite a bit in that I get at least 10 emails a day touting the ACA as good but not one spam opposing the ACA.

    Kids are fairly smart so if the monthly price of health insurance to include deductable is reasonable, doesn't matter who's doing what on the campaign trail, they'll either sign up or won't. We were all kids once, how many times did we actually "listen" to our elders on anything? Most of the time we knew it better and did our own thing. Doubtful young folks that are healthy who like having that extra money to "have fun with" so to speak are going to pay a monthly fee of $200 particularily with a high deductible. Chances are they'll "pay as they go" since they have to anyway with a high deductible, pay the fine at tax time and save the rest.
  8. JVH77
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    JVH77 - December 18, 2013 10:28 am
    You're right, no one was denied health care. But millions were denied health insurance and millions more were bankrupted by medical bills. I don't think advocating for returning to such a system is intelligent or responsible in any capacity. Government may not be the answer but free market greed most certainly is not, and the proof is in the last 50 years of American history. And only a moron would over simplify a complicated situation like this into a one sentence solution. We can't keep running in circles.
  9. JVH77
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    JVH77 - December 18, 2013 10:22 am
    And that's precisely the reason conservative groups opposing the law are spending millions on ad campaigns aimed at getting young people to break the law by not having insurance. If these same groups were willing to fork over the loot once one of these people gets seriously ill or in an accident and needs coverage it would be one thing. But no, they're doing it out of greed and politics and have zero interest in the people involved. Telling lies and half truths to further their own agenda without regard for the well being of the individuals they're attempting to trick into helping them. It's just about the worst example of everything that's wrong with humans you could ever find. Greed, manipulation, and cynicism all rolled into one. If they were doing it out of a genuine concern for the future of our nation it wouldn't be quite so bad. But they're doing out of a concern that people might like this program once they sign up, and they don't make a secret of it.

    Creepy commercials of a sex offending Uncle Sam and Koch brothers sponsored keg parties might convince some of those that celebrate their low information status. But with any luck the active attempts at convincing others to break the law, that would be a crime if perpetrated by the average citizen, will go down in history as an epic failure.
    I'm not making any bets either way but rest assured young people would be signing up in large numbers if we were all working together to solve this problem.
  10. dietz1963
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    dietz1963 - December 18, 2013 9:06 am
    Also don't forget the ACA has that "risk corridor" built into it that allows health insurance companies to get government funding if they run into problems.
  11. F-22
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    F-22 - December 18, 2013 8:32 am

    "The hitch is that if fewer young people buy coverage for 2014 than private insurers currently plan, firms could raise premiums the next year to protect their profits.

    A big enough rate hike could lead to even fewer young people signing up in 2015, and the cycle could then repeat itself in subsequent years.

    Under this death spiral scenario, the program would fall well short of expectations that it expand coverage to 25 million Americans by 2016, while the cost of subsidizing each insurance plan would be much higher than planned.

    "You would basically have a failed program," said Josh Gordon, policy director at The Concord Coalition, a think tank specializing in budget issues."
  12. F-22
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    F-22 - December 17, 2013 9:21 pm
    This simply doesn't fit the prescription, reality is going to clash with the Obamacare fantasy.
  13. skooter
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    skooter - December 17, 2013 11:31 am
    Ah the stretched fact to make an argument an argument, eh Montana Mike, You must be a true republican...let's knock those tin soldiers down:

    The Manhattan Institute is as conservative as they come...they're part of the neo-conservative Rove dark money pipeline. About as fringe as it gets...but even a cursory look on their web site shows no such alarming fact for they estimate a mere 6% for middle age males and an average 20% when group - sorta contradicts what their inflammatory reports throws out doesn't? Even the GOP only claims a 29% increase in premiums to scare ya!

    The CBO estimate is actually closer to 1.3 and that's over 10 years (abt 130 billion/year...and that's not just all new expenditures but rolls into it exisiting costs that we were paying pre-ACA. ...and adjusted the net is up for some of the 2013 changes wrestled into the law by the right, and slower than expected rollouts vs state coops, and the unique roll of Repub govs blocking expansion. Frankly, I see that as money fairly well spend in comparison to where else it's spent. But a full single payer would have been so much cheaper - why didn't you support it? Death Panels?! :-)

    Notices mean nothing...I got a notice that my healthcare was going up by an average of 20 percent over the last 5 years before ACA too, and a policy was cancelled once for no reason (and no I never use my health care). My first wife got a notice that her over priced policy was being canceled and she got another through the exchange - again with better coverage for the same money she was paying. Yes, sham policies, and those that don't abide by ACA guidelines got cancelled...the industry did that before ACA too. Now they'll have another viable option.

    Please - don't get me started as I could write all day act some arbitrary list of employers claiming they are being crushed by taking care of their employees a little. Is that like "papa john" who'll give away 2 million pizzas for an NFL promo but can't afford to basic health care for the people that help him make that money. Shameful.

    And the website whopper has been thoroughly debunked by several sources (you guys used to pretend it was 634 Million HA!). The company holds other contracts, and one reporter lumped several other contracts begun even before ACA into together and your side never let's a little research or the truth get in the way of selective outrage. Cost was about 93M contracted and some estimates are closer to 100M upon conclusion. Hmmm...funny, at least a mere 10% of what you pretending to be fact.
  14. Montana Mike
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    Montana Mike - December 16, 2013 8:47 pm seems so very convenient for you to spew your ideology without facts to back any of it up. Maybe you missed your calling as a politician? Consider these Obamacare facts:

    An analysis by the Manhattan Institute finds premiums under Obamacare will rise by 99% for young men and between 55% to 62% for young women.

    The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates Obamacare will cost American taxpayers $1.798 trillion over the net ten years.

    According to data compiled by the Associated Press, 3.5 million Americans have received notices from their health insurance companies that their plans will be canceled due to Obamacare.
    As of Oct. 17, Investor's Business Daily's running Obamacare scorecard listed at least 351 employers who have cut jobs or hours in response to Obamacare.
    A Bloomberg analysis finds that the broken Obamacare website and its supporting IT infrastructure cost American taxpayers over $1 billion.
    Facts indeed are stubborn things.
  15. JVH77
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    JVH77 - December 16, 2013 5:52 pm
    My mistake 5thgen you were right there weren't any Republican Senators to vote for it and it did get 60 votes. Democrats never had 60 votes but they did have 60 members in their caucus with Sanders and the diabolical Joe Liebermann. I must have been thinking of something else so I apologize for the confusion.

    I only wish someone could explain to me why the very small number of people who stand to lose their policy or see increased costs without a better option available to them are more important than the millions who stand to benefit? It's a simple numbers game and I haven't seen any numbers anywhere that indicate there's even a comparison between those two groups. And the bottom line is we needed to do something, you haven't argued with me on that point.
  16. 5thgen
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    5thgen - December 16, 2013 1:36 pm
    I'm pretty sure I'm right here, the Democrats controlled both the House and Senate in 2009, only one Republican House member voted for the ACA and no Republican Senators voted for it. In addition the Democrats used some way of getting around the 60 vote rule and were successful and sent it off to President Obama. That's when Vice-President Biden made a mistake with the open mike and told the President that this is a Big f-word deal. So they did have the power and the votes to pass the ACA. I can't find anything on the web to prove what I just wrote wrong. Help me out if I messed up. thanks
    Also what I do find interesting is the amount of forgiveness the left has for what President Obama says and when the facts come out, it's no big deal. I guess unless your one of the ones who are losing your health insurance plan, doctor and paying higher costs, it no big deal if the President's promise means nothing.
  17. skooter
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    skooter - December 16, 2013 10:40 am
    I said there were issues and it's not perfect, but that doesn't change the fact that it's A) working for the most part, B) not the horror show you boys and girls want to pretend for political reasons, C) not the end of the world (el pollos), and D) the greater good far outweighes the minor, and yes very minor, inconveniences there in. Sorry - but this is called a society, we're a group, we are a mass...and you can't not make decisions to please everyone, especially a very small minority ...ACA does a ton more good then any small harm...more insured, healthier, cuts/saves overall costs (yes, it does), better care at the lowest levels where it's needed most to help rebuild the middle class, etc...

    The very real truth is that most of those catastrophe plans were born from the very notion that people couldn't get affordable (and decent) health care because of the reality of the old system (especially on the open market) and they had to protect themselves from a hospital taking their house if they happened to get sick. For those that want them - they got an extension to keep them...and in fact some of the exchanges offer newer versions as well. Already we're hearing that many of those people are happier to have real coverage that helps their family. And at the end of the day - if you paid 72/month you didn't really have insurance - you had a quazi-life insurance scheme - "Don't cry for me Argentina."

    EVERY ONE OF MY DOCTORS & HOSPITALS as accepted by the new MT alternative. Sorry...I know that's the next big boogeyman talking point. I'm not adverse to feeling sorry for big hospitals and doctor, but I can say a prayer later tonight to hope they survive this conflagration (hint I'm thinking they'll really be fine).

    You guys can lash your collective backs and pretend this is the latest and greatest injustice ever for as long as you want, but it's hear to stay at least until you guys regain some sort of elected power again, and even then it will probably be working well enough to be impossible to dismantle. It's such a non-story, created by your side to have a rallying cry...that's what makes me chuckle the doesn't even cut a single one of the greedy players out of the mix. They're all getting paid and will be making money in three of the biggest industries in the US: health care, pharma & insurance. They are all getting paid with very few real changes. It's a very direct version of Romneycare...same-same. The difference is that they're beating the drums to get you all lathered up because they need you to be to gain a foothold politically.

    Heck, the funniest part is if the leadership on the right actually believed it was the latest incarnation of pure evil they pretend it portends, they'd let it go through, fail and clean up in the very next election. They are more afraid of this very moment...when people see a little savings, get a little peace of mind and say, 'well obviously this was much to do about nothing...thank GOP.'
  18. F-22
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    F-22 - December 16, 2013 8:42 am
    Private insurers are not going to absorb the costs of the implementation of ACA; nor will they absorb long-term costs of covering those with pre-existing conditions. They are a private for-profit model and their premiums/coverage will continue to reflect that. Now we'll pay Uncle or them (unless waivered), without regard to personal choice/circumstance. I smell a future bailout of private insurers with public monies. It's a worthy dream, without the reality to sustain it. This forum doesn't provide the space, nor the capacity to legitimately debate the issue.....I have my circumstance and my health and it should remain my choice, not the government's mandate. I thought Liberals were "Pro-Choice"? Single payer.......perhaps that is where we will end then, the damage to our economy and our wallets ought to be substantial. Will there be a health system to repair at that point? It is beyond moronic to think that folks will surrender hard earned dollars for diminishing coverage, higher deductibles; or enjoy the cancellation notices. Will law abiding citizens then become categorized and labeled as tax evaders simply because of a mandate?
  19. JVH77
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    JVH77 - December 16, 2013 12:39 am
    dietz your assumption that I don't need health insurance is not only wrong, it's incredibly insulting. So by your logic, since I'm relatively healthy and not currently sick with a serious disease, I don't need access health care. Wow! that's about all I can say on that one. Did it ever occur to you part of the intent of insuring younger people like me was to encourage preventative health care? I know it's a difficult concept to wrap your head around but healthy living doesn't begin at a certain age. Encouraging healthy lifestyles for people like me can only save health care costs in the long term. It's the fundamental intent of the ACA.

    The $260 dollars a month I was quoted prior to the ACA's implementation may not be that bad of a price for you, but it certainly was for me. It was for a policy with a far lower level of coverage and zero incentive for preventative care. And most importantly I couldn't pay it. I never had that policy because I was priced out of the market altogether. At 36 with a hefty student loan burden and a slew of responsibilities I just don't make enough money. You can speculate on the life choices I've made or assume I'm wasting money on something else but you really have no idea.

    As far as your claim that millions more will be without insurance now that the ACA is law and has started coming online, I've not seen any indication of that. People are losing policies, most of them are eligible for better ones through the exchanges at the same or a better price. And a very small few are stuck paying more or going without. It's not perfect but you don't just get to make up numbers and pretend they prove your point. There is every possibility this law will be the disaster some have predicted, but I'm firmly in the camp that chooses to approach the problem head on rather than ignore it. History may prove us wrong, but we've already established who had the courage to try.
  20. JVH77
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    JVH77 - December 16, 2013 12:06 am
    It doesn't matter if you require all the services a plan includes, we live in a society and as a result often indirectly pay for the services others receive. There are a lot of things we help to pay for that we never even know exist let alone take advantage of. It isn't fair that others would have to pay twice or three times as much as they once did so I can afford it. But in my eyes it's even less fair for me not to have access at all. It's why I advocate for a system where we all pay that removes the greedy middle man altogether. But I would think a system whereby I'm paying something is preferable to one in which these same people would cover 100% of my care when I go to the emergency room and can't afford to pay.

    And just so you know they did require a certain amount of income to qualify for the subsidy, and given our legislature has denied the Medicaid expansion I don't think you can point to the unemployed/under employed as the takers here. They apparently aren't worthy of access to basic health care so they aren't making anyone's premiums go up.
  21. JVH77
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    JVH77 - December 15, 2013 11:51 pm
    Actually they didn't ever have the votes to pass anything they wanted and single payer was never an option for Republicans or most Democrats. Go back and check out some of the debate from 2009, it was a borderline miracle anything was passed at all and if I remember correctly it was passed out of the Senate with the help of 3 Republican votes. The Democrats never had a filibuster proof majority in the Senate and we all know literally anything supported by this President has always required 60 votes. No one had the guts to go in a completely different direction despite knowing and in some cases admitting it was the smartest thing to do in the long run because they are all beholden to the powerful insurance industry in some fashion. What's basically and fundamentally wrong is to have a system where only the privileged are able to participate in any real capacity. What's wrong is to have a system that rewards reactionary health care and completely ignores preventative measures. What's wrong is for anyone to profit off health care that isn't directly involved in the business of health or medicine. But all these things are a reality so I'm not going to lose any sleep over the very small minority who will see increased costs without a better option available to them. In that sense I guess I would have to advocate for an approach that achieves the greatest good for the greatest number, and that's what I believe the ACA attempts to provide.

    My comments are designed to prove my point, that's the idea behind posting them. And I certainly am guilty of passing judgement on others, I'm a human. How else could my assertion that anyone unwilling to offer an alternative to the ACA while simultaneously complaining about it is either lazy or spiteful be interpreted? The difference is I'm making a broad generalization of an entire group, which no one has bothered to refute, while the person I was responding to made an assumption about me specifically. I actually laid out a case for why I believe the generalization to be accurate. What's the case for assumptions about me? I've never offered personal opinions of anyone on these forums or speculations on their lifestyles, evidently it's too much to ask for the same respect.

    And finally yes I do keep addressing the same issue of what's the alternative. And as of yet no one has bothered to answer it. To your credit you've admitted you don't have one. But you haven't addressed the second and more important part of the question I keep posing. Why is denying me and millions of others this opportunity a better option than trying something, even if there will still be people for whom the law isn't perfect? Especially given the number of people who stand to pay more without the option of a better plan is by any measure far smaller than the number of people who are uninsured. I sympathize with anyone whose premiums are going up or level of care is going down without the option of a better plan anywhere. But all indications are that number is very small and only inflated by the number of people who aren't willing to look on the exchanges out of spite, misinformation, or because they simply aren't aware of the possibilities. And it's very hard for me to sympathize with them.
  22. Montana Mike
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    Montana Mike - December 15, 2013 10:27 pm
    Misinformation you say Skooter? Like..... "If you like you like your doctor, you can keep him. Period?" Or how about...."If you like your insurance plan you can keep it. Period?" You talk a good talk, but when is all said and done, what are you going to do with that "great plan" you got through the exchange when your doctor/hospital doesn't accept "Obamacare" due to the low reimbursement rates?
    Quite frankly, there were many people who were quite satisfied with their "catastrophic"
    low cost insurance plans. Who are you (or big brother) to say it wasn't good enough for them? Just remember....when you point the finger at someone and call them a dolt, three fingers are pointing back.
  23. 5thgen
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    5thgen - December 15, 2013 10:06 pm
    I see you keep addressing the same issue here, what's the other plan, I won't disagree with you that something needed to be done to rein in health care costs, but to create a plan that makes people who were satisfied with their plans unhappy so you can make others who for whatever their individual reasons were to not have insurance is basically wrong. Your party is the one that put this plan into effect so they didn't like your single payer plan either. I mean they had the votes to pass whatever they wanted and did just that. I'm happy you are excited about getting health care now, however if it's costing others more so you can have it and now they have to do without somethings, well maybe that isn't right either. Just as you claim others are judging you without knowing you, I read in your comments the same judgement coming from you. Your statement that we all pretty much think of ourselves is very accurate and your comments certainly prove your own point.
  24. skooter
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    skooter - December 15, 2013 9:38 pm
    Oh boy - lot's of the same old misinformation out there. Some folks can't stand the idea that the old system didn't work very well - and the new one is working fairly well, even with a few hiccups. I'm not a fan of Baucus and am glad he's leaving us, but he's not wrong here.

    And the same old same with no idea what they are talking about chime in with the latest incendiary lies...and I bet none of you have even checked out the prices. Other than a few catastrophe plans that weren't even plans...please aren't losing plans, and generally they are picking up better ones (with actual coverage). And the prices aren't going up either - mine are the same with MUCH BETTER coverage and significantly lower deductible. And if I wanted to I could have chosen a premium over a $100 less than my current policy with the same deductible (my new plan is a gold level, while the old policy I had was the equivalent of a bronze). If my family uses the full deductible

    As more people signup, and look at the plans available (and you can compare them directly between the Co-op option, Pacific Source and BCBS) and in every case the options were better, and the cost cheaper...and when the start losing enough customers to the other options they'll start lowering their costs to match. And everybody wins. if you say you want competition to keep costs down...then this is exactly what this does...a non-profit first option to help incentivize the fat cat insurance companies to provide decent care/cost/service options.

    It's by no means perfect (and Max actually had a large role in making it not perfect - but he's a dolt - so he's got that going against him). But it's better, and when many of you stop running around playing chicken little, most of you will find that out.
  25. skooter
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    skooter - December 15, 2013 9:23 pm
    That's not true, and mainly made up...people could always go to the ER sorta - but the fact was that unless they were truly destitute they were going to pay, and pay highly. Hospitals didn't just say "Just pay us when you can or bring us my a chicken (wasn't that Bachman?)." And typically it bankrupted families or at least saddled them with tremendous debt and ruined the rest of their lives. And so yes, people choose not to get care for themselves and their families and tough choices had to be made about care if you were at all worried about being able to pay.

    And even worse, many (especially on the open marketplace) were denied the chance to even have health care for prior conditions by insurance companies that didn't mind collecting premiums, they just didn't want to add people that might need actual services. And the insurance industry even had people who's sole job it was to remove risky and potential sicker than most sorta a people from their roles (look up rescission). So yes, another way that people were given the choice of going bankrupt or going without care.

    And lastly...ACA doesn't cost more. It actually saves in many ways. I am in an upper bracket that doesn't get a single rebate and my new ACA insurance is about exactly the same as Pacific Source (purchased from New West) and my deductible is 4,500 lower, and I have better coverage and I can't be dropped just for getting sick. In fact, I'm saving enough to even cover my family with dental for a change.

    Over and out? Try win + win.
  26. dietz1963
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    dietz1963 - December 15, 2013 8:43 pm
    Why don't you be honest JVH77, its not just the price being cheaper for you, its also you probably don't really need it because you are young and relatively healthy. Now for just $, what a bargain. Cause $260, if that is what you were paying, wasn't bad. Before this all got started, they said for me alone was $520. More then I can afford and now is more then that. Thanks but no thanks.
  27. dietz1963
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    dietz1963 - December 15, 2013 8:39 pm
    Here's my question, why should others pay twice or three times what they were paying now just so it can be cheaper for you? Is that fair? Or who are you, or the government, to say which plan is the best for me? Neither I nor my wife need a plan for maternity care or other stuff. But that is now our only choice for which we must also pay for WHAT WE DON'T NEED in order for others to be able to afford theirs. Nice.

    I agree with what someone else said a few days ago, they should have made it mandatory for people to have a job with a certain amount of income first.
  28. peaches
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    peaches - December 15, 2013 8:36 pm
    Government is not the answer nor can it provide a solution. The solution lies in removing government from health care and restoring true market forces. Costs, including medical insurance, would drop dramatically. No one, repeat, no one, in the U. S. prior to ACA was denied health care due to lack of money or lack of insurance. But health care will be denied post ACA. Watch and learn. Only a moron would think most Americans would willingly pay more for less to ensure a minority of people could pay less for more. Over and out.
  29. dietz1963
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    dietz1963 - December 15, 2013 8:34 pm
    Ok lets be honest. For you, about a $200 a month reduction. For others, a $500 increase. Or they simply lost their insurance all together and must now get one they don't need at 2 times the price.

    So in a sense while some millions didn't have it before, several MORE millions won't have it now. That in order for you and others that didn't have it, to get it. Was the trade off worth it? Insure say 7 million in order for 14 million to become un insured? But that's democratic math for you. I don't care, I, and millions will simply pay the fine at tax time.
  30. JVH77
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    JVH77 - December 15, 2013 8:11 pm
    $260/month v. $72. That's why I didn't have it before. Next time you make assumptions about a total stranger think about that old cliche about people who make assumptions, you seem to be the living embodiment of it.

    Why don't you be honest about what you're actually saying here? There are just some people who don't deserve proper health insurance, and by extension access to proper health care. And apparently despite the fact that you know absolutely nothing about me, I'm one of them. Prove me wrong, come up with a better idea on insuring the millions of people this law was intended to help. Otherwise you're just complaining.
  31. JVH77
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    JVH77 - December 15, 2013 8:02 pm
    See the difference is I admit that I'm thinking of myself rather than masking my selfishness under a veil of phony patriotism or concern for fiscal responsibility. And the course of action I'm advocating at least stands a possibility of increasing the number of people who have access to the terrible system we have in place. Repealing this law without the alternative you admit doesn't exist has zero chance of doing anything. At any rate you're wrong about me not having an alternative plan. I still, and have always advocated for some kind of single payer plan. It's a shame we have to go through this ridiculous circus and divisive debate in order to get us to the obvious solution. The thing is despite having an alternative plan I still support the law because it's the reality of the situation we're in. I'd rather be constructive than complaining for the sake of complaining. If we stopped pointing out the obvious and used a tiny fraction of the anger energy out there maybe we could work together and make this thing better instead of working against our own interests.
  32. JVH77
    Report Abuse
    JVH77 - December 15, 2013 7:49 pm
    Actually I didn't have it before because despite working three jobs I couldn't afford it. And I have a college education so don't come back at me with poor choices or any garbage about makers v. takers, that's the calling card of someone who watches too much Hannity. What is appalling is the arrogance you're displaying by making wrong assumptions about me without even the smallest attempt to address the questions I asked. And just to answer your original question, no, I'm not kidding at all.

    Tell me how many people are actually having their plans taken away without an option for a similar or better plan on the exchange and why their access to the status quo outweighs the access I and millions of others now have or you're just another example of the exact people I was talking about. You prove my point better than I ever could.
  33. Honestabe1776
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    Honestabe1776 - December 15, 2013 4:40 pm
    You've got to be kidding right? This plan means taking affordable health plans that people paid for away so they and I can pay for your plan. Why did you not have insurance before? You decided to not pay for health insurance until you became sick, just guessing. Let's apply your case to car insurance. I won't pay for collision insurance until I total my car and then I expect others like you to pay to fix my car. Your gratitude in thanking us for paying for your insurance by calling people lazy, miserable and not smart enough is appalling.
  34. justidea
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    justidea - December 15, 2013 4:17 pm
    May we get a response/article informing us as to how the ACA will affect St. Pete's and our local doctors?
  35. 5thgen
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    5thgen - December 15, 2013 3:33 pm
    JVH77: In all fairness to the ones who have complained about ACA, while you are happy because you have successfully obtained health insurance, maybe they are not happy because they now are the one of the few you speak of that are now paying more. You are correct that each person is basically thinking of themselves. It is apparent you are doing the same, I don't fault you for that, it's human. Regarding a different plan, I don't have one and neither do you, we are hoping our elected leaders will come up with one that is successful. Will ACA be that one, I'm not sure and neither are you, it's just too early to know. The very rocky start didn't help it, the fact that it was passed without any changes or support from the other party and the fact that it was basically passed without being read by the ones who voted for it, this all causes problems and concern. Another issue is while you are getting a better plan (which I have no problem with) is others are now being forced to buy and pay for insurance that they will never use or have no need for. It's complicated and when our Senator call's it a train wreck, well I'm sure he wishes he never said that. It becomes a rallying cry for the ones who either are going to pay more or basically don't think it's their problem to supply others health insurance.
  36. JVH77
    Report Abuse
    JVH77 - December 15, 2013 2:24 pm
    Out of the comments against the ACA in this thread, predictably there isn't a single inclusion of an alternative idea on insuring the millions of people this law was designed to help. I guess it's true the only people we care about when push comes to shove is ourselves.

    This isn't an easy problem to solve, that's why the only solution out there is so complicated. So unless you're at least willing to try and tackle it yourself the most responsible thing to do is shut up and see how it goes instead of making stark predictions based on stuff you made up in your own head or the advice of paid operatives. Of course I know that won't happen since each of us are always the smartest person on earth in our own minds, but a boy can dream can't he? The level of anger over an attempt at help is sickening.
  37. JVH77
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    JVH77 - December 15, 2013 2:14 pm
    The ACA is only here to stay until the legions of complainers pull their heads out of the sand and come up with an actual alternative or better yet embrace the only real solution, a single payer system. The best thing about this debate is more and more people every day are asking the question why we didn't do that to begin with.
  38. JVH77
    Report Abuse
    JVH77 - December 15, 2013 2:08 pm
    The website has worked pretty well for me and the ACA has provided me with a very good policy at a very reasonable price. Until someone explains to me why I shouldn't have this opportunity, everything else is a bunch of complaining and parroting of talking points by people who are too lazy or not smart enough to come up with a better plan. Most of the people who are losing existing plans can find much better options on the exchange, they're just too lazy to do so or won't out of some fundamental issue with a law they don't even understand to begin with. It isn't perfect, but to pretend it's even half as bad as the commenters here or the right wing media have portrayed it is a flat out lie or the rantings of a low functioning individual. I have little sympathy for anyone losing an existing policy that isn't willing to look elsewhere for a better option out of spite.

    Complaining is easy, what's not as simple is coming up with a better idea. And since that hasn't happened any complaints can be chalked up to lazy and miserable people with nothing better to do than hurl insults and offer unsolicited criticisms on a topic they aren't capable of discussing intelligently to begin with.

    Why is it better for me to not have insurance than someone who lost their policy because it didn't meet the new guidelines and isn't willing to go on the exchange to find a different one? Should their laziness or failure to understand the law properly affect my ability to have access to health care? I understand their will be some who end up paying more even through the exchanges. But that number can't compare by any measure to the people who stand to gain health insurance for the first time in their adult lives and those that will find a better deal. Why should we put an end to the positive gains of a large group in order to preserve the price protections for a few? Unless you're willing to attempt an answer for these questions don't bother responding, I'm not interested in anyone's explanation of how President Obama is killing the country or destroying the fabric of our society. I only want to gain some understanding of what the alternative is other than a couple more decades of debating the subject with the pre-ACA climate for health insurance.
  39. peaches
    Report Abuse
    peaches - December 15, 2013 1:32 pm
    Senator, you have gone round the bend and off the cliff. You have played a major role in attempting to destroy the best health care system in the world and for that you will be remembered. The ACA is not here to stay. The worst is yet to come and when that happens the backlash will be severe.
  40. F-22
    Report Abuse
    F-22 - December 15, 2013 10:16 am
    I'm confident that a broken Congress won't fix or repair anything, especially the Affordable Care Act. Clearly a life-long politician will always state that "government knows best" matter the blunders, or costs. This is a fairy tale gone bad and we really don't know the full impacts of this on our economy yet; many waivers have been granted and multiple provisions have been delayed. You can bet this will cost somebody (nothing is free). This is going to get worse before it gets better. Putting lipstick on a pig won't make it pretty. Max is right in one aspect......this admin/gov't will NEVER willfully remove this tax scheme, but the Courts can sour this party with the right legal combinations. In the future, the people most certainly can elect those who have the ability to repeal this.
  41. Honestabe1776
    Report Abuse
    Honestabe1776 - December 15, 2013 9:30 am
    Did Chris Matthews right this article? Why did this article not address people losing their health plan, doctors, hospitals and even employment? Max's head continues to be buried in the sand and ignore all of the deceit, problems and cost of this failure. However, we must remember Max, Jon and the rest of the Democrats know what is best for me and my family regardless of what I tell them. I wished he had the courage to run for election as he could not ignore that result as he continues to ignore the wishes of the majority of Montanans and Americans. Wake up America, a year from now, we all would have wished this OBAMACARE was only a little "train wreck"!
  42. Montana Mike
    Report Abuse
    Montana Mike - December 15, 2013 7:54 am
    Even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, our esteemed Mr. Baucus defends the monstrosity called the Affordable Care Act (ie. Obamacare). Of course, what would you expect from one of the main architects of this dismal failure. Granted there are certain parts which are beneficial, such as pre-existing conditions coverage and insuring children to the age of 26 under their parents insurance. But could not this have been done with simple individual bills in Congress instead of a 2700 page, we have to pass it to see what's in it, boondogle?
    Additionally, all evidence points to the millenium generation choosing not to participate in this experiment as well, which is critical to its success or failure. The assertion that more people will be insured when this is over is more than debatable.
    Come on Max, we all defend and justify our actions and mistakes. But when the light of the sun and overwhelming evidence to the contrary shows what a mistake this social experiment has been, I dare you to stand up and be accountable for your actions.
  43. RightMT
    Report Abuse
    RightMT - December 15, 2013 7:12 am
    So 5 million uninsured is better than the 3 million uninsured we had before? Washington math is wacky!
  44. Mtnmann
    Report Abuse
    Mtnmann - December 15, 2013 7:11 am
    And let me guess, in a year from now you'll be nowhere to be found.

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