Sen. Max Baucus released his Finance Committee’s healthcare reform bill today with no support from Republicans and outrage from liberal Democrats. The one group who did like the bill was insurance companies, whose stocks rallied across the board once Baucus released a bill that contained no public option.
According to Think Progress, “Following Baucus’ announcement, HealthNet shares increased by 3%, United Health Group Inc shares rose by 2.7%, Humana Inc. grew by 2.6%, Wellpoint stock gained 1.7% and Aetna Inc rose 1.6%.”
Why wouldn’t the health insurance companies love this bill? They wrote it. The Baucus bill gave Republicans every single thing that they wanted. There is no public option, no employer mandate, the bill doesn’t cover illegal immigrants, provides no federal funding for abortion, and encourages states to explore tort reform. Still not a single Republican has pledged to support the bill.
Baucus said today, “I worked very hard to try to get that bipartisan support. No Republican has offered his or her support at this moment.” The Finance Committee bill will not be the final bill. This bill is on the complete opposite end of the spectrum from the House bill and the Senate H.E.L.P. Committee bill. This bill is a gift for the insurance companies.
Think about it, sure the companies may have to pay higher taxes, but in return they get access to entire market of uninsured people in the United States thanks to the individual mandate, and they get to charge more. The big win for the insurance industry is that the public option is not in the bill. The Baucus bill provides no competition for the industry, and opens the door for them to continue their current practices. This bill is everything they could have wanted out of reform.