Montana: My New Favorite State

June 1, 2009 at 5:40 pm | Posted in health, politics straight up, senate | 1 Comment
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Four cowboys and group of horses by pond, Nine Quarter Circle Ranch, Eldridge, Montana.  c. 1911.

Four cowboys and group of horses by pond, Nine Quarter Circle Ranch, Eldridge, Montana. c. 1911.

I was really annoyed when I read about Senator Baucus’ exclusion of single-payer advocates from the Finance Committee hearings. Not being a Montana voter, his office can just ignore me.

Imagine my delight to read that Montanans have let the senator know very clearly that he is wrong.

(HuffPo) Baucus, the chair of the Finance Committee and the leader of reform efforts in the Senate, scheduled 20 town hall meetings with constituents across the state to talk about the future of health care. The Senate was out of session, but Baucus, a Democrat, didn’t personally attend. Instead, he sent staff and a video-recorded message.

“I really want to hear from all of you,” Baucus said on the video, according to local media. “You’re my employers. You’re my bosses. You’re the people I work for. I’m just the hired hand. I want to hear what you want to see in any legislation we pass in Washington, D.C.”

He got what he asked for.

Five separate accounts of the meetings, published in four different local papers, show Montana voters were downright hostile to Baucus’ reform proposal. Baucus has been a staunch opponent of single-payer health care, a system in which the government would provide universal coverage.

Senator Baucus is scheduled to meet with five single-payer health care advocates in Washington, D.C. this week, but don’t get the silly idea that means he is going to change, or even reconsider, his position.

(Great Falls Tribune) “For more than a year, Sen. Baucus has met with thousands of people, representing hundreds of views on how to reform our health care system,” Baucus spokesman Ty Matsdorf stated in an e-mail. “This meeting is no different. Max hopes to talk, and listen, to these folks to try and find the best way to make sure every Montanan has access to quality, affordable health care.”

I am not holding my breath that Senator Baucus yet understands that he is in fact “just the hired hand.” I am hopeful that once Montana voters realize he has no intention of changing his position, they will fire him and hire someone else in the next election.

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