Despite warnings of cost and competition issues, Democratic lawmakers continue to promote the idea of a government-run public option, although their latest effort was rejected by the Senate Finance Committee.
The influential committee is the last congressional panel to consider draft healthcare legislation before debate begins in the full House and Senate, and two of its members — Senators Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia and Chuck Schumer of New York — proposed two amendments yesterday that would create a public option that uninsured Americans could join.
In the end, the committee rejected the proposal during an afternoon vote, with all 10 Republican members voting against it as well as some Democrats, including chairman Senator Max Baucus of Montana.
After the vote, Senator Rockefeller criticized the outcome saying it will give free reign to private insurers to continue to raise premiums and put profits ahead of people’s health.
However, Baucus — who is known to be personally in favor of a public option — said he feared a bill including a similar provision would fail to win enough votes to pass the Senate.