Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) was the primary author of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known colloquially and affectionately as ObamaCare. Today, he predicted his own law would cause a "huge train wreck" when the federal government begins implementing it fully later this year. He's not the only one who's worried. Other Democratic senators have expressed concerns. An Obama administration official recently offered this vote of confidence:
We are under 200 days from open enrollment, and I’m pretty nervous...The time for debating about the size of text on the screen or the color or is it a world-class user experience, that’s what we used to talk about two years ago...Let’s just make sure it’s not a third-world experience.
How could Baucus come to fear his own bill? Maybe because he never read it, as he admitted to his Libby, Montana, constituents in 2010:
Naturally, a Baucus flack later clarified what he meant:
Senator Baucus wrote the bill that passed the Finance Committee and then worked with his colleagues to write the health care bill that is law today. He has spent years crafting this policy and hundreds of hours reading and perfecting it. There is simply no question that he understands the provisions in the health care law...
If so, perhaps Baucus could explain the law to his colleague, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV). Rockefeller may have spent more time studying health care than any other U.S. senator, Baucus included. For example, Rockefeller founded the Alliance for Health Reform and headed the organization for more than a decade. And yet Rockefeller finds ObamaCare to be "the most complex piece of legislation ever passed by the United States Congress" and "just beyond comprehension":
But can we really blame Baucus if ObamaCare supporters -- including himself -- didn't understand the bill they were passing? After all, he warned us that not all of them would understand it:
So to recap: Baucus wrote an early draft of the law, helped to write subsequent drafts, didn't read the final law, totally understands it, and now fears it.
Will the last ObamaCare supporter please turn off the lights?