The Senate Finance Committee has rejected two Democratic efforts to create a public health insurance option. The first was offered by Sen. Jay Rockefeller and was voted down by all the Republican committee members and 5 conservative Democrats – Sens. Conrad, Lincoln, Nelson, Carper and Baucus. The second effort, a less liberal plan sponsored by Sen. Charles Schumer, picked up two of the conservative Dem votes (Nelson and Carper) but was still defeated.
The Times summarizes the meaning of the votes.
The question now is whether the support shown today by at least some Democrats for the public option will be enough to convince Senator Harry Reid, the Democratic leader, to include it when he reconciles the Finance Committee bill with one from the more liberal health committee — which does include a public option.
That will be the big debate going on behind the scenes while the Finance Committee barrels through hundreds of additional amendments with the goal of wrapping up its bill by the end of the week.”
It’s worth checking out the coverage of the committee’s debates to see some of the rhetoric Republicans are bustin’ out in their opposition to something this country desperately needs. How many insured people need to file for bankruptcy because their medical bills are too high? How many years will insurance premiums have to rise faster than wages before our government will help us out? How many years will we have to pay higher premiums while benefits and payments to doctors are reduced? At the rate the Senate is going, we might have to find out.