We won’t have Senator Max Baucus to kick around much anymore after 2014.

The popularity-challenged senator who isn’t great at following the wishes of the constituents who elected him spent the time leading up to his retirement annoucement bad-mouth the Affordable Care Act — an act he helped create — and then voting against background checks for handguns because someone told him it was Opposite Day because otherwise it doesn’t make ANY sense.

And back to that Affordable Care Act business: he was instrumental in its genesis; but then, he did things like “shut out liberal advocates of a single-payer system from hearings in 2009″ and “voted against a pair public option amendment proposals.” And then yeah: he called the implementation of his act a train wreck.

Oh — he also broke rank with his Democrats by backing a Republican-led Medicare prescription drug benefit plan. It’s popular with seniors now, of course. And breaking rank with a party isn’t necessarily a terrible thing. But his actions taken together sort of make him — what’s a polite way to say this? — terrible at his job.

Wednesday’s headlines:

There Are a LOT of Important Wiggle Words in This Alleged “Story”: “A New York-based nonprofit says it has bought up more than $1 million in medical debts owed by more than 1,000 people in the Louisville area, as part of a protest of the credit industry.” Sure, Rolling Jubilee SAYS it bought $1 million in medical debt; but guess who’s not free with the receipt of that purchase, or any other important details? [Courier Journal]

Speaking of Politicians Getting it Wrong…: “In the healthcare world, there’s not a whole lot that insurers, doctors and union workers all agree on. But a new coalition of powerful Capitol players from all three groups is hoping to reverse recent budget cuts, pushed by Gov. Jerry Brown, to those who provide care to the poorest Californians.” [LA Times]

In News You Already Know: “Slower growth in U.S. healthcare spending can be traced primarily to the economic downturn, a study found.” [UPI.com]

“To Hell With It!” Said Every Old Person in This Story: “We’re in denial: Americans underestimate their chances of needing long-term care as they get older — and are taking few steps to get ready.” [CapitolHillBlue.com]

You’re Going to Take the Exchange, and You’re Going to LIKE IT: “The plan threatens to affect the federal budget and the pocketbooks of some part-time workers, as it would push a group of employees out of their current health care plans and into an exchange developed under the Affordable Care Act.” [Associated Press]

Healthcare Fraud Alert: “The U.S. government sued Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. Tuesday, claiming it gave kickbacks to pharmacies to switch kidney transplant patients from competitors’ drugs to its own.” [Associated Press]

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