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Rarely Used Closed Doors Slammed Again in U.S. Senate Health Care Reform; Sen. Max Baucus Must Publicly Answer 10 Questions About Mandatory Purchase of Health Insurance
Date:5/20/2009

WASHINGTON, May 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- For the second time in two weeks, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee today invoked rules -- allowing a closed door committee session barring the public, media and with no Congressional Record -- reserved for unusual circumstances, like national security issues and trade secrets.

Consumer Watchdog called on the committee to publicly answer ten questions about how its plan to require all Americans to show proof of insurance or face tax penalties will provide affordable health care. Questions listed below.

Download Consumer Watchdog's letter to Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), chairman of the Finance Committee, sent prior to last week's closed meeting here: http://www.ConsumerWatchdog.org/resources/BaucusClosedMeeting.pdf

In the letter to Senator Baucus, Consumer Watchdog wrote:

"Americans should not be locked out of any discussion about health care reform, particularly one that will consider whether everyone should be required to buy health insurance policies without any limits on what insurers can charge. Mandatory purchases of private insurance policies without offering a public alternative to the private market is nothing other than a bailout for HMOs -- whose greed, waste and indifference to our health have created the current mess.

"There's no mention of cost-cutting in the Senate Finance Committee's 'policy options' document being discussed in today's closed meeting -- no regulation of HMO premiums, no limits on how much consumers will have to pay out of their own pocket in co-pays or deductibles."

Last week the Senate Finance Committee circulated a "policy options" white paper to be discussed in today's meeting, which excludes members of the media and public. The senate finance document makes the president's promised
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SOURCE Consumer Watchdog
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