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Baird can’t support health care bill; Smith on the fence

Post by David Wickert on Nov. 6, 2009 at 1:23 pm with 14 Comments »
November 6, 2009 1:23 pm

By LES BLUMENTHAL

WASHINGTON BUREAU
WASHINGTON – With a historic vote looming this weekend, U.S. Rep. Brian Baird said Friday he can’t support the Democratic health care reform bill. Rep. Adam Smith, said he hasn’t made up his mind.
Baird said he isn’t prepared to vote for a bill until the Congressional Budget Office estimates its impact on health insurance premiums. He also wants to wait until Medicare and Medicaid actuaries estimate the impact on those programs for seniors and the poor.
“I can’t in good conscience vote for this without those estimates,” Baird said.
Smith said he is weighing whether the need to overhaul a “big, bloated, wasteful system” and provide insurance to millions currently without it outweighs the bill’s $1 trillion price tag and failure to aggressively rein in rising medical costs.
“I’m legitimately 50-50, right down the middle,” said Smith, a leader among centerist Democrats in the House.
Baird and Smith are Democrats, and their votes could be critical as party leaders scramble to round up the votes needed to pass the legislation.
The Democratic bill requires nearly everyone to obtain health insurance beginning in 2013. It also creates a federal exchange where individuals and small businesses can buy health care. And it provides for a government-run – or public option – health care plan.
The legislation also bars insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions, limits annual out-of-pocket costs for consumers and repeals the current anti-trust exemption for health insurers.
The bill ends the current federal subsidy that has allowed Medicare Advantage to offer low rates to seniors. And it increases the number of people eligible for Medicaid.
Smith said he understands his support for the measure could be critical for its passage.
“Reaching 218 is tough even without me,” Smith said. It takes 218 votes to pass a bill in the House.
Smith said he has had little contact from Democratic leadership, except for a phone call from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last weekend.
“If in fact they need my vote, they haven’t acted like they do,” Smith said in an interview.
He said he was also surprised he hadn’t heard from the White House. Smith chaired President Obama’s campaign in Washington state during the presidential election.
Smith said he knows if the House doesn’t act it would be a “significant setback.” But he also said the bill costs too much and “shies away from what needs to be done to control (medical) costs.”
The bill provides for a study of overhauling a Medicare reimbursement formula for doctors and hospitals that has penalized Washington and other states with efficient health care systems. But Smith said that was not enough.
“We dance around the edges, but don’t take aggressive steps to contain costs,” he said.
Baird said he has asked House leadership and the White House to delay the vote.
“With the Senate now saying it may be January, what’s the rush?” Baird said.
Baird said no one would buy a house without knowing what the monthly mortgage payment would be. He said it was just as important to know the effects of the health care bill. He also said it was like chasing a train as it leaves the station.
“You need to know where it is going before you jump on,” Baird said. “I understand the need for health care reform and I know people have worked hard. But why not wait?”

Leave a comment Comments → 14
  1. Considering few will actually get to read the bill before it votes it should be an automatic NO. Anyone voting for a blind bill should be removed from office.

  2. GoingRogue says:

    Brian Baird showing his true colors like that traitor Joe Lieberman.

  3. DickWMuri says:

    Adam Smith “said he was also surprised he hadn’t heard from the White House. Smith chaired President Obama’s campaign in Washington state during the presidential election.”

    Who cares if Adam Smith has received a “let’s make a deal” phone call from Obama. Adam Smith has received thousands of phone call from constituents to not back this additional bloated expensive government proposal. Who does Adam Smith represent nowadays?

  4. Pat_riot says:

    GoingRogue:

    I think you meant to say:

    Brian Baird, not a lemming & a representative who can actually think for himself, like Joe Lieberman.

  5. runner52 says:

    CONGRESSMAN ADAM SMITH

  6. runner52 says:

    CONGRESSMAN ADAM SMITH is as much “on the fence” as is his mentor, Nancy Pelosi!. Recall that Smith is a political careerist….always attempting to curry favor with where he thinks the power resides. He stepped up to be John Kerry’s (Washington) campaign manager in 2004….that bet didn’t fare so well. He did better when he did the same for Obama in 2008. Never hurts to feather the nest! This “centrist” is only a centrist for home district consumption. The material in this article was provided for home consumption. He’ll vote with his mentors when the time comes….The likelihood that he’ll vote against this bill is about the same as his introducing a resolution commending George Bush for Iraq! Remember, this is the guy that wrote the House version of the “Global Poverty Act” (Senate version written by Obama). That bill surrenders elements of U.S. sovereignty to the U.N. Smith is no centrist; he’s as far left as Obama or Pelosi. If you believe he’s on the fence, I’ve got a deal on a bridge in New York for you!

  7. hellomouthbreathers says:

    Want to know why Baird won’t support the bill? He is a millionaire, plain and simple. He is so out of touch with reality that he has no clue how important this is to the common man. Why would he? He’s rich, he benefits from the way things currently. He is far from a patriot, he is an elite that is more concerned with his position than he is his actual job.

  8. ohyea53 says:

    Congressman Smith is on the fench! That’s a laugh. He will vote for this bill. I’ll bet a years pay on that!

  9. crusader says:

    There is no more critical vote to a politician’s future. If you entertain any hope of re-election you must vote No on Obamacare.

  10. EyesOpen says:

    Here is another example that these guys are looking are for us!

    Page 1,432—Section 2351 provides incentive payments to States that enact new medical liability laws – but only if such laws do “not limit attorneys’ fees or impose caps on damages.”

  11. 2 comments:

    1. I hope the dems run strong progressive candidates against Baird & Smith in the primary.

    2. Re voting w/o reading I fully agree; the most despicable example of this is the horrible “Patriot Act”.

  12. TSI1960 says:

    Brian Baird was a PLU professor back in the 90s before he was a politician. Any moron can become a politician (obviously) but no moron obtains a PhD and becomes a university professor. Baird is trying to be accountable with taxpayer money, which is what he was elected to do. He has a problem spending $1,000,000,000,000 (more or less) on a “Gray Area” of a plan Obama and Pelosi are trying to force feed us ASAP without knowing if it will work…

    Good question Brian, what’s the hurry? That seems to be a re-occurring theme in the Obama administration – hurry.

  13. EyesOpen says:

    I disagree with Rep. Baird on many issues. This morning though, I owe him a thank you! Thank you for at least pausing and asking the question, where is this money coming from? No one else seems to care!
    The funny/nasty part of all this celebration is that this healthcare bill will not help a single soul until 2013!

  14. Novelist says:

    I can tell you one thing this bill will do-
    fill up our prisons with people who couldn’t afford health insurance in the first place. Five years and $250k to Nancy Pelosi’s grinning government visage.
    Every time that woman smiles, something dies inside me.

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