Baucus Caucus? Not So Much

By Matthew Cooper

Sen. Max Baucus has introduced his own health care bill. This is important because he chairs the Senate Finance Committee and because he's pledged to come up with a bill that could attract Republican support. But no Republicans have embraced the measure since it came out this morning, and the ranking member of the committee, Chuck Grassley, distanced himself from it. So does this mean the possibility of a bill that some Republicans support is dead? Who knows?

This drama has more acts to play out, but the idea of a big, comprehensive health care bill getting significant Republican support seems as far away as ever. I think, and fear, we'll end up with a very stripped down measure at the end of the day that enacts some important reforms and brings some more people into the system but doesn't come close to universal coverage or fixing the out-of-control costs associated with health care. I hope I'm wrong.

We'll see how the bill plays out during the day and if it gives the president any help going
into his big media weekend. He's appearing on five Sunday shows and then the full hour of Letterman on Monday.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2009/09/baucus-caucus-not-so-much/26668/