ABC News' Rick Klein reports: Leading liberal groups are blasting the health care bill being offered today by Sen. Max Baucus, in biting dismissals that don't bode well for the bill's chances of attracting Democratic support.
Justin Ruben, executive director of MoveOn.org, called the bill a "dream come true for the insurance industry," and was particularly critical of the lack of a public option in the measure.
"The Baucus bill will not solve the health care crisis that plagues millions of Americans, and fails to meet the basic tenets on successful reform laid out by President Obama," Ruben said in a statement. "The insurance companies have found their champion in Senator Baucus. The only good news is that the senator stands nearly alone in supporting his bill."
The National Coalition on Health Care, an umbrella organization that's working on behalf of Democratic reform efforts, issued a statement expressing "deep disappointment" in the draft being offered by Baucus, D-Mont.
"We do not believe that this plan would achieve affordable, quality health care reform for everyone. Very importantly, it does not appear to incorporate the necessary short-term and long-term cost containment measures that would make a new health care reform law sustainable," the coalition said.
Richard Kirsch, national campaign manager of Health Care for America Now, also offered a stinging critique: "The Baucus bill is a gift to the insurance industry that fails to meet the most basic promise of health care reform: a guarantee that Americans will have good health care that they can afford. The Baucus bill would give a government-subsidized monopoly to the private insurance industry to sell their most profitable plans -- high-deductible insurance -- without having to face competition from a public health insurer."
The bill is being met coolly by Republicans as well. None of the three Republicans who have been part of extensive negotiations inside the Finance Committee with Baucus have signed on to the proposal, and GOP Senate leadership has labeled it a "partisan proposal" that cuts Medicare while expanding overall government spending.