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You could say Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont. is the man of the moment. In recent weeks, Baucus has been a media darling, or a bandit, depending, his face splashed across the pages of some of the nation's largest news organizations. In this week's Missoula Independent though, Matthew Frank's solid profile of the senior senator attempts, as he puts it, to cut "through the news ping pong" that Baucus' story has become. A nugget: The opposing view—voiced more loudly by critics—contends that Baucus' lead role seems less political destiny and more dumb luck, like a third-string quarterback thrown into the game at the most crucial moment. He's not very well known, somewhat inarticulate and a little awkward. The state he represents has fewer people than the number of Pennsylvanians lacking health care. He's working diligently—but fruitlessly, so far—to draft a bipartisan bill, even though Democrats in the Senate have a filibuster-proof majority. His negotiation table includes everyone but single-payer advocates, whom he rejected like a patient with a preexisting condition. And the very industry he's supposedly trying to reform has given him more money than its given almost any other member of Congress. Progressives wonder whether Baucus, beholden to big money, will blow the best opportunity to pass health care reform legislation in a generation. Click here for the whole story.

Baucus: Bipartisan Power Broker or Third-String Quarterback?

You could say Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont. is the man of the moment.

In recent weeks, Baucus has been a media darling, or a bandit, depending, his face splashed across the pages of some of the nation’s largest news organizations. In this week’s Missoula Independent though, Matthew Frank’s solid profile of the senior senator attempts, as he puts it, to cut “through the news ping pong” that Baucus’ story has become.

A nugget:

The opposing view—voiced more loudly by critics—contends that Baucus’ lead role seems less political destiny and more dumb luck, like a third-string quarterback thrown into the game at the most crucial moment. He’s not very well known, somewhat inarticulate and a little awkward. The state he represents has fewer people than the number of Pennsylvanians lacking health care. He’s working diligently—but fruitlessly, so far—to draft a bipartisan bill, even though Democrats in the Senate have a filibuster-proof majority. His negotiation table includes everyone but single-payer advocates, whom he rejected like a patient with a preexisting condition. And the very industry he’s supposedly trying to reform has given him more money than its given almost any other member of Congress. Progressives wonder whether Baucus, beholden to big money, will blow the best opportunity to pass health care reform legislation in a generation.

Click here for the whole story. (In the sake of full disclosure, it should be noted that Frank is a former NewWest.Net writer.)

Elsewhere on Baucus watch, the Flathead Beacon’s Kellyn Brown points out that the trend I pointed out earlier in the week of dismissing Baucus and his colleagues, the so-called “gang of six,” for being from sparsely populated states, continues:

From Catherine Rampell at The New York Times Economix blog:

These states represent less than 3 percent of the country’s population, and hold only 2 percent of the nation’s uninsured, according to Census Bureau estimates.

It makes sense to give the residents of Montana and Wyoming a strong say in the future of health care reform, which will likely affect residents of every state. But shouldn’t someone representing a state with a few big complicated cities also have an official seat at that table, which is trying to determine a compromise that works for (almost) everyone? The way health care functions varies greatly from region to region, in terms of things like patient needs, delivery systems and resources. A more metropolitan state with a few rich, research-oriented medical facilities will operate differently, with regard to everything from expenses to treatment options to patients, from a rural state with fewer resources.

About Courtney Lowery

Comments

  1. Dave Anderson says:

    The current reality is that 1/3 of the population elects 2/3 of the US Senators, so oddities like this are inevitable, although perhaps not a good thing for California, New York, Texas, and Florida.

  2. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers! says:

    Mini Baucus is simply exercising what HE thinks representative government is all about. But of course, Mini is a moron. You see, Mini thinks that he is protecting the minority from the tyranny of the majority. But of course, Mini is a moron. He thinks that the American people are a rabble. He doesn’t understand that it’s NOT tyranny when a full friggin’ SEVENTY-TWO PERCENT of the American people want help NOW in the form of single payer health insurance. It’s called democracy. So, just WHO is Mini protecting from this rabble? I think that we all know the answer to that one. His insurance industry pals. Mini is a cowardly, venal moron. Third string quaterback my foot! Poor Mini wouldn’t even make a decent water boy!………well, then again, I guess he would. He sure knows how to carry water for the insurance industry!

  3. Cindy says:

    Just remember a gov’t controled health insurance will also tell you when the end of life comes to you, after the age of 60 years. Now isn’t that nice, you will be that age some day when the consultants (gov’t) comes around and tells you that you are now on the list for rationing medications, no pain pills for arthiritis, no hip replacements, no stints for heart patients or by passes etc., and how do you want your funeral to be handled. Do you want to be buried in the cemetary or cremated? Nice huh. Just remember things that are free and paid for by others also have strings. This is one.