With the nation’s media rightfully focused on the events in Boston last week, it would have been easy to miss what Sen. Max Baucus had to say about the Affordable Care Act, the health care law he helped write a few years ago. His remarks are worth a review.
During a budget hearing on Capitol Hill, Baucus, D-Mont., told Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that he’s afraid Americans don’t understand how the law will work. “I just see a huge train wreck coming down,” he said. “You and I have discussed this many times, and I don’t see any results yet.”
In his remarks to Sebelius, Baucus made it clear that he doesn’t think HHS has gotten on track to have important pieces of the law implemented by 2014. “I’m very concerned that not enough is being done so far — very concerned,” he said.
Sebelius said after the hearing that she “didn’t know what he’s looking at,” and that her agency was on its way to fully implementing health care exchanges by January 2014. But the remarks by Baucus underscore concerns that even strong supporters of Obamacare have about the law and its many facets. A week earlier, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., called the law “probably the most complex piece of legislation ever passed” by Congress, and said that if “it isn’t done right the first time, it will simply get worse.”
And these men helped craft and promote the law while it was being steamrolled through Congress in 2010!
Baucus made bigger news Tuesday by announcing that he won’t seek re-election in 2014. He has served six terms in the Senate; perhaps he figures that’s long enough. Just as likely, Baucus knew that trying to defend Obamacare on the stump next year, when more pieces of the law take effect, might prove to be too much to overcome.