By Jane Stillwater
After Barack Obama got elected and we didn’t have to deal with George W. Bush any more, I honestly thought that I could finally relax… and take a holiday from intense vexation and frustration with our government — but no. I’m still fighting mad. I’m still pissed off enough to chew nails. And I’m still out for blood. And it’s still High Noon during America’s battle for representative government. And as Markos Moulitsus Zuniga once said, “You don’t bring a spork to a gunfight.” Trust me, I won’t.
According to the Baltimore Chronicle, Senator Max Baucus of Montana has received almost two million dollars from health care lobbyists alone — $1,826,652 to be exact. I could live like a princess for the rest of my life on that amount! “Corporate health profiteers who invested in Baucus will now benefit from his stewardship over health care reform,” stated the Chronicle. “His 2008 donations from health care profiteers included: Insurance: $592,185; Health Professionals: $537,141; Pharmaceuticals/Health Products: $524,813; Health Services/HMOs: $364,500; Hospitals/Nursing Homes: $332,826. That is $1,826,652 Baucus took from these industries.”
With almost two million dollars stuffed into his back pocket and screaming for him to represent the interests of the so-called health care industry, why would Max Baucus chose to represent us just plain Americans instead?
I’ll tell you why.
That man took an oath!
When Max Baucus was sworn into office as a senator, he made a solemn promise that he would “well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.” And what exactly are these duties, Max? To represent interests of the people who voted for you! You promised! And now you have broken you promise and ditched America at the altar. That’s called “Breach of Promise,” Max. And that is an actionable offense.
Apparently Senator Baucus has used his position in Congress to kill any hope of American citizens receiving a decent healthcare delivery plan. This man has sold out. “Hitched or Ditched?” This man has become America’s runaway groom.
Upon his induction into the Senate, Baucus promised to represent the people who elected him. He hasn’t. He promised us. “So help me God.” But he sold his soul to the devil instead. And I want this man impeached — if not jailed. I want to send a very clear message out to Senator Max Baucus — and to EVERY member of Congress, and to the President too. “You either start representing the people who elected you or else face grave consequences.” If you break your promise to us, you are gonna be in a whole bunch of trouble — much worse trouble than you would be in if you didn’t have a back pocket stuffed with cash.
Americans should have sent this message to George W. Bush back in 2001 when he didn’t sign the Kyoto Agreement to help prevent global warming, when he failed miserably to protect us on 9-11 and when he first began selling America off to lobbyists — chunk by chunk. But it’s still not too late to get the message across to Senator Baucus!
My neighbor’s little girl has no healthcare. Her parents are in that inconvenient tax bracket where they have too much income to qualify for Medi-Cal but not enough income to pay for the health insurance that Max’s friends are offering. If, heaven forbid, anything happens to this sweet little girl because Senator Baucus blocked single-payer healthcare, I will hold that man personally responsible.
Max Baucus broke his promise. Max Baucus left America at the altar while he ran off with health care insurance companies, Big Pharma and other K Street whores. This makes me angry. This makes me fierce. I want that man out of the Senate. I want that man in jail. I want every uninsured man, woman and child in America to join me in an impeachment campaign against Baucus. And I want him to feel the sting of a class-action lawsuit generated by every single person in America who has ever suffered illness and harm because they were turned down for health care by Baucus’ friends. Given the $1,826,652 Baucus has already received from the so-called health care industry, the settlement amount would probably only come out to one dollar per person, and that’s not much compensation for the world of pain Americans have suffered and will suffer because of his “Breach of Promise” — but it would make ME feel a whole lot better.
Please call Senator Baucus’s office in Washington DC right now. His phone number is 202-224- 2651. Let’s make Max Baucus accountable for breaking his oath.
And, according to my friend Jerry, Senator Baucus is already getting into deep trouble with the citizens who elected him. “Senator Baucus just got slammed by the folks back home in Montana during a series of Town Hall meetings that he ran. He got so spooked by the people that he sent staff out there to cover his [bottom].” Yeah.
From the Baltimore Chronicle: Max Baucus Should Not Be Deciding Health Care for America: The “Senator for K Street” is Putting Campaign Donor Profits Ahead of the Basic Needs of the People: Senator Max Baucus and the Senate Finance Committee are too corrupted by corporate health industry profiteers donations to give America the health care policy it needs. Health care is 15% of the U.S. gross domestic product. U.S. health care expenditures, which have been rising rapidly for several years, surpassed $2.4 trillion in 2007, more than three times the $714 billion spent in 1990. The cost of health care is projected to reach $4.4 trillion by 2018. There is a lot of room for corporate profiteering in the increasing cost of health care. The millions the health care industry has invested in Baucus and the Senate Finance Committee could therefore turn out to be very profitable.
It is evident that any bill that comes out of the Senate Finance Committee will be a pro-industry bill that will ensure trillions in profits for the health insurance industry, HMOs and the pharmaceutical industry.
Baucus has held two hearings so far and has refused to allow advocates for the most popular reform-a single payer national health policy-to even testify. Single payer “improved Medicare for all” is favored by more than 60% of Americans as well as majorities of doctors, nurses and economists. It is the most cost-effective and efficient way to provide health care to all Americans from cradle to grave.
Why aren’t single payer advocates allowed to testify before Baucus’ committee? Follow the money. Campaign donations explain why, and demonstrate that the Senate Finance Committee should not be in charge of health care. Senator Reid should remove the health care reform bill from Baucus and start all over before the Health Committee in the Senate.
Here’s why Baucus is not doing the people’s business:
According to OpenSecrets.org , over his career he has taken donations from:
* The Insurance Industry: $1,170,313
* Health Professionals: $1,016,276
* Pharmaceuticals/Health Products Industry: $734,605
* Hospitals/Nursing Homes: $541,891
* Health Services/HMOs: $439,700
Baucus has shown his bias and should be removed from leading the health care reform effort by the Democratic Party leadership.
That is a grand total of $3,902,785. Can we trust Baucus to put aside the profits of the industries that have kept him in the Senate? Will he put the people’s necessities ahead of the profits of his contributors?
In 2008 Baucus had virtually no challenger in Montana. A little-known Republican was on the ballot, and Baucus won with 73% of the vote. But, Baucus sought big donations from big business anyway. He used his connections to corporations with business before his committee to raise an immense campaign fund of more than $11 million. In 2008, 91% of his donations come from individuals living outside of Montana, which is why he is more the “Senator for K Street” then the Senator for Montana. Corporate health profiteers who invested in Baucus will now benefit from his stewardship over health care reform. His 2008 donations from health care profiteers included:
* Insurance: $592,185
* Health Professionals: $537,141
* Pharmaceuticals/Health Products: $524,813
* Health Services/HMOs: $364,500
* Hospitals/Nursing Homes: $332,826
That is $1,826,652 Baucus took from these industries, and now he can reward them by deforming health care reform.
The health care profiteers knew that Baucus would determine their fate and ponied up. Now the only thing standing between them and their payback is a single payer national health care plan. Yet single payer, which would end private insurance and control the cost of pharmaceutical drugs, is not being considered-not even allowed to participate in the conversation before Baucus.
It is not just the chairman of the committee who has received massive donations. The full Finance Committee is a gluttonous embarrassment of campaign pay-offs. In 2008 the committee members received a total of $13,263,986 from industries affected by health care reform. Can we trust this committee to put the interests of the people before their donors?
The donations to the Finance Committee in 2008 included:
* Insurance: $5,103,900
* Pharmaceuticals/Health Products: $3,308,831
* Hospitals/Nursing Homes: $2,809,353
* Health Services/HMOs: $2,041,902
These industries expect to be rewarded with billions, even trillions, in profits and hundreds of millions in corporate welfare. Senator Baucus’s behavior shows they have made a good investment –they’ve bought themselves a senator who should be called Chairman Blagojevich. He is doing his best to make sure the single payer message is not heard because he knows it is the fairest, most efficient and cost-effective way to ensure health care access for all Americans-but he can’t let that be implemented because it would put some of his donors out of business and control the profits of others.
It is time to remove Baucus from the leadership of health care reform. It is time to move the critically important priority of reforming America’s health care system from the Finance Committee and put it before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. At least their mission is health care, not money.