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Consensus at Last!

Sen. Max Baucus announced his health-care proposal and achieved what few expected—a broad coalition of Right, Left, and Center. Unfortunately, they all oppose the plan, which is a caricature of a compromise—namely, something everyone hates. It has no public option, at least not technically speaking (there are “co-ops”), so Sen. Jay Rockefeller, illustrative of the Left, has said he won’t vote for it. Conservatives from Sen. Lamar Alexander to Mitch McConnell have said no to the hodgepodge of tax hikes and mandates. Sen. Chuck Grassley says he won’t support it either. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) took to the floor to denounce the Medicare cuts, which as a Capitol Hill staffer points out violate the President’s  pledge that “your coverage won’t be affected.” Liberal senators and House members object to the skimpy subsidies, making the same point Ruth Marcus did (i.e., how is it “reform” to stick middle-class people with an obligation to buy insurance they can’t afford?).

And then there are the taxes.  A handy chart from Americans for Tax Reform explains the assortment of new taxes, fines, limits on health spending accounts—all imposed on people making less than $250,000, which candidate Obama assured us would never happen.

It seems that those arguing that Congress and the president should rip up all the health-care schemes floating around and start over with some targeted reforms will have some powerful ammunition. Full credit should go to Sen. Baucus, who has revealed just how unpalatable health-care “reform” can be.


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