Health-Care Reform

Would Baucus Plan Hit Middle Class?

It seems Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), the chair of the Senate's finance committee, is bringing lawmakers from both parties together on health-care reform but not in the way he hoped. Republican and Democratic lawmakers are both criticizing Baucus' proposed legislation for leaving middle class Americans on the hook for too many health-care costs in requiring them to buy pricey insurance. "It's very clear that the driving issue of this debate is affordability, particularly for middle-class folks. And the Democratic caucus is very much committed to getting this issue right, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) told The Washington Post. Republican Sen. Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME), who could be a swing vote on health-care reform, is reportedly trying to come up with ways to increase government assistance to those facing the highest premium costs as well. Baucus says the concerns are "legitimate," but told the Post that his bill was nonetheless a major step forward. "Today, insurance policies are so expensive, people tend to forget that, hey, this is a big improvement over the status quo," he said.