The latest health overhaul plan circulating on Capitol Hill gives health insurers, drug makers and large employers reasons to heave sighs of relief, sparing them the higher costs and more burdensome rules included in other Democratic-written alternatives.
But health insurance stocks jumped Wednesday at the news of Baucus’ public option-free measure. And privately, industry lobbyists acknowledged that the plan is far more to their liking than any of the other measures currently under discussion, and expressed confidence that it would improve further as senators and Obama’s team continued to haggle over its details as it approaches a Senate vote.
Senators are not an island unto themselves. They have a network of staffers and lobbyists who help inform and craft their policies. Looking at Baucus’ network of former staffers turned health care lobbyists a few months ago raised serious questions about the ability of Baucus to be impartial in his bill making process. With their clients cheering, it’s hard not to think that the final product was written by these former staffers turned lobbyists (along with the former lobbyist turned staffer, Elizabeth Fowler). It looks like this was the real “Gang of Six.”