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Sen. Max Baucus: Answer 10 Questions About Mandatory Purchase of Health Insurance Including Why the Public Was Excluded From Today's Committee Meeting
Date:5/14/2009

ed more campaign contributions from the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries than any other current Democratic member of the House or Senate; the third highest contributions of any member of Congress.

Consumer Watchdog posed the following 10 questions to Senator Baucus, the Senate Finance Committee, and members of Congress about the affordability of the mandatory purchase of insurance policies:

  1. Senate rules appear to only allow committees to meet in closed session under very limited circumstances, including discussions concerning national defense and protection of trade secrets, none of which appear to apply to today's meeting. What Senate rule justifies today's closed-door committee meeting?
  2. Why have you offered such deference to the top lobbyists of the insurance industry, which bears a large share of the responsibility for the current health care crisis, while locking consumers and consumer advocates out of the debate?
  3. The only guaranteed provision in the "policy options" report is that every American would have to file proof of an insurance policy with their tax returns on April 15, 2013 or face tax penalties. How does threatening Americans with tax penalties lead to affordable health care?
  4. If there are no limits on how much an insurance company can charge for the coverage that Americans will be required to buy, how can you promise that it will be affordable?
  5. Your policy options do not adequately protect Americans against low-benefit, junk insurance that fails to provide access to necessary benefits and does not limit out-of-pocket expenses (co-pays and deductibles) when patients get sick. How does "owning" an insurance policy under these circumstances equal being able to get health care?
  6. There are documented cases of insured people facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid medical bills. Without a cap on ou
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SOURCE Consumer Watchdog
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