Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) has taken a leading role in health care reform efforts in the Senate this year, dedicating a series of hearings to it and, in doing so, becoming one of the more prominent health care figures in Congress.
Today, one of the Senate's most liberal members said Baucus specifically, as well as other Democrats in the Senate, wouldn't be open to a single-payer plan "in a million years." While President Obama's reform efforts are unlikely to result in a single-payer system, supporters of a stronger public option (not to mention die-hard backers of a single-payer plan) could take Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-VT) comment as a bad sign of what one of the Senate's health care leaders is willing to entertain.
"What, am I gonna sit here and tell you Demcorats are perfect, they are immune from money, pressure? Of course they're not," Sanders said.
"We have some wonderful Democrats who are fighting to do the right thing, but you have some conservative Demcorats who will be working with Repulicans," he added.
Advocates of a single-payer system protested one of Baucus's hearings in May, accusing Baucus of not letting their side be heard; Baucus later met with single-payer advocates and said it had probably been a mistake not to hold a hearing on single-payer plans.