Rockefeller won't support Baucus health plan
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., says he will not vote for any package that does not include a public option for health insurance.
September 16, 2009 ·
Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus says he'll release his health care reform legislation today, but he's doing so without any Republican support or support from follow Democrat Jay Rockefeller.
Rockefeller told reporters yesterday that he will not vote for any package that does not include a public option for health insurance.
Rockefeller says the Baucus plan would be disastrous for coal miners. He explains that the plan calls for an 35 percent excise tax on the value of a company’s health insurance. Rockefeller says that means an extra eight thousand dollars for single insured and 21 thousand dollars for families.
"Sen. Baucus isn't from West Virginia though he is from a coal state," Sen. Rockefeller said, "and he should understand that that means every single, virtually every single coal miner is going to have a big, big tax put on them because the tax would be put on the company,.
"The company will immediately pass it down in lower benefits to, because they're self-insured. Most of them because they're larger, pass down lower benefits and probably higher premiums to coal miners who are getting very good health care benefits for a very good reason that is like steel workers and others they're doing about the most dangerous job that can be done in America.
"So that's not really a smart idea. In fact it's a really dangerous idea. I'm not even sure coal miners in West Virginia are even aware that that's one of the things awaiting them if this bill passes."
Rockefeller also noted that 42 percent of workers in West Virginia are self insured through large corporations such as coal, chemical, timber and gas companies. Under the Baucus plan, Rockefeller says those insurance plans would be exempt from any insurance regulation.
"Virtually almost half of the workers in West Virginia are not going to have any insurance protection which is another reason why we want them to have a place where they can go something called a public option," Rockefeller explained.
Rockefeller says only a public health insurance option would keep premiums low and introduces real competition to the health insurance market.