Still Getting Nowhere With Public Option

Posted: October 29, 2009 in Health Care
Tags: , , , , , ,

Try as he might, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Democrats that support him are getting nowhere fast with their insistence of a public option in the current health care legislation. All 40 Republican members of the Senate are against the public option meaning all 60 Democrats would have to approve it, but a number of moderate Democrats oppose it. Independent Senator Joe Lieberman has also announced that he would help the Republican filibuster.

Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana, one of the Democrats on the fence, stated, “The question is, is this enough flexibility for states to account for their own circumstances? And the answer to that is perhaps. But I’d like to wait to see what’s in the language.”

Lieberman was more definitive. “I think such a government-run health insurance company will be bad for our country and really will hurt taxpayers.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is busy working on another proposed health care bill that also includes a public option, and she plans to make a formal announcement about it Thursday morning. Where Pelosi’s bill differs in Reid’s is in the requirement of government-run insurance. In her re-named “consumer option,” Pelosi will require universal sign-ups and the establishment of a new government-run insurance option for millions. Reid’s bill allows for states to opt-out of a modified version of the government insurance.

Additional pressure for moderate Democrats comes from the 5 million member MoveOn.org, which has publically stated that those Democrats who do not support the public option will not receive support from MoveOn.

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