Senators Set the Stage for Showdown on Public Option in Reform Bill
Tomorrow, Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) each plan to offer amendments to the Senate Finance Committee health reform bill that would establish a public plan, The Hill reports.
Both senators acknowledge that the committee likely will reject the amendments.
According to The Hill, the lawmakers intend to offer the amendments because they want to force each member of the panel to declare a position on the issue and face the potential consequences of opposing the option, including reaction from labor unions and grassroots liberal activists (Young, The Hill, 9/28).
Rockefeller said, "True health care reform cannot be realized without a strong public insurance option that works for American families, and I intend to offer this amendment in the Senate Finance Committee" (Haberkorn, Washington Times, 9/27). He added, "There really isn't an alternative, except the status quo" (Butterworth/Connolly, Washington Post, 9/25).
The senators originally planned to introduce their amendments on Friday but delayed the action, which Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) considered a sign "that there aren't votes for it" (Armstrong, CQ Today, 9/25).
Schumer said that although his amendment likely will not be accepted, he believes the final reform bill to come out of Congress "will have a good, strong, robust public option," after being combined with legislation from the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and the House.
The prospects for a bill with a public option in the House are in question (The Hill, 9/28).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.