Health Care Reform Update: Senate Finance Committee Rejects Public Option

September 29, 2009

The Senate Finance Committee today rejected two proposals to add a public option — a government-sponsored insurance policy that would compete with private plans — to the health care reform bill put forth by Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.).

David M. Herszenhorn of The New York Times writes:

The committee on Tuesday afternoon voted, 15 to 8, to reject an amendment proposed by Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, Democrat of West Virginia, to add a public option called the Community Choice Health Plan, an outcome that underscored the lack of support for a government plan among many Democrats.

Mr. Baucus voted no, as did Senators Thomas R. Carper of Delaware, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, and Bill Nelson of Florida, joining all 10 Republicans in opposition.

A second amendment by Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, to create a different version of a public plan was also defeated, though by a closer margin, 13 to 10, with the added support of Mr. Carper and Mr. Nelson.

Mr. Schumer who voted in favor of both proposals, said supporters of the public option would keep on fighting.

“We are going to keep at this and at this and at this until we succeed, because we believe in it so strongly,” he said.

Continue reading for more analysis.

This story in The Hill on the public option was published before today’s vote, but it’s worth reading for a look at the compromise Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will try to forge between what emerges from the Finance Committee and the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee bill, which includes a strong public option. Polls show solid public support for a public option.

Plus: Have you seen this video of Robert Reich explaining the public option? He’s quite clear and concise.

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