Sen. Claire McCaskill joined four other moderate U.S. Senators Thursday in commending the health care proposal unveiled by Sen. Max Baucus, a clear indication that Missouri's junior Senator is moving towards fully supporting the measure.
McCaskill joined Sens. Ben Nelson, Joe Lieberman, Olympia Snowe in commending Baucus for crafting a proposal that "has the potential to gain broad bipartisan support."
The plan DOES NOT include a government option.
FULL STATEMENT BY THE FOUR:
Despite the differences that have emerged in this health care debate, there is much that we all agree on, including insurance market reforms that bar insurance companies from discriminating against people based on their health status or denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions. We also agree on prevention and wellness investments, critical delivery reforms like paying for quality rather than quantity, increasing access to care by improving health care provider training programs, and reducing uncompensated care by extending tax credits to American families to help pay for their health care coverage.
Each of us has an obligation to put aside partisan views and to consider how health care reform addresses the needs and challenges faced by individual citizens and our economy as a whole. While we each have outstanding concerns we wish to see addressed, Senator Baucus has taken an important and critical step forward with this legislation, which is budget neutral and reduces future health care costs according to CBO. We will continue to work together in the full Senate on bipartisan health care reform that reduces costs, improves care, and expands access."
NBC White House correspondent Chuck Todd on MSNBC: "They commend the bill . . . so they're not sitting there saying they support it, but c'mon, we know what the hidden message is here. Bascially, Olympia Snowe is signing on with a group of three other moderate Democrats saying, ok, I can work with this bill."
THEN . . . LATER THIS AFTERNOON . . .
MCCASKILL URGES COST-CUTTING
In a late afternoon release, Sen. McCaskill said she signed onto a letter to Finance Chair Baucus urging him to include further cost-cutting measures to curb the growth of healthcare spending.
McCaskill joined this letter signed by Sens. Herb Kohl, Mark Pryor, Mark Begich, Evan Bayh and Amy Klobuchar.
"As you know very well, the most important challenge we face in reforming the nation’s health care system is getting costs under control. Our country’s spending towers above other industrialized nations. We spend roughly $7300 per American per year while other developed countries spend an average of $2900, yet our health care quality is not any higher. These other countries’ experiences make it clear that the goal of quality, universal, and affordable health care is achievable," the letter reads.
"The rapid growth in health spending impacts every American family, every business, as well as our government, and we must consider every option to reduce its ever growing burden. Problems in both private and government health care systems are rooted in these high costs, including our high rate of uninsured Americans and the future solvency of Medicare. Despite past efforts in Congress to lower the rise in health care expenditures, costs continue to skyrocket. . . . This is our number one priority. If we pass health reform legislation without addressing the issue of health care spending, we will have failed."