Max Baucus fears a wreck of the train he hopped

Max Baucus, who helped write the Obamacare legislation, said today that he sees a “huge train wreck” ahead due to problems in implementing that law. Baucus addressed this comment to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius during a routine budget hearing before the Senate Finance Committee, which he chairs.

Baucus expressed concern that new health insurance marketplaces for consumers and small businesses will not open on time in every state, and that even if they do, they may well fail because residents don’t have the information they need to make choices. Baucus also said that small business owners in his state “have no idea” about the implementation of Obamacare. He added that “the administration’s public information campaign on the benefits of the Affordable Care Act deserves a failing grade.”

Sebelius rejected Baucus’s claims, while blaming Republicans for whatever implementation problems exist. “We are on track to fully implement marketplaces in January 2014, and to be open for open enrollment,” she insisted.

Baucus is up for re-election next year. Thus, he no doubt is thinking more about November 2014 than about January of that year. His poll numbers dropped precipitously after he helped vote Obamacare into law. They can be expected to drop again if, as seems extremely likely, implementation doesn’t go well.

Will sounding the alarm at this late date help Baucus out of his predicament? I doubt it. Perhaps he was just venting.

I’ve said before that Obamacare may well play a key role in the 2014 elections, to the Democrats’ detriment. Senator Baucus, it appears, agrees with me.


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