The Senate Finance Committee rejected two amendments earlier today that would have add a government-run public health-insurance plan to the health care reform legislation currently before the committee:
A key US committee on Tuesday rejected a push by liberal Democrats to have a government-run healthcare option included in the $856bn centrist bill taking shape in the Senate.
The 15-8 vote by the Senate finance committee, which could indicate the fate of the proposal in the upper chamber as a whole, was followed by a 13-10 vote against a second, similar amendment, with three Democrats voting against both versions.
The outcome was expected, but was still a defeat for liberals who view government-sponsored insurance for the middle class as a key component of President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul.
The debate pitted Jay Rockefeller and Charles Schumer, senators for West Virginia and New York, against conservative Democratic colleagues, including Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate finance committee, where the bill is being hammered out.
The latter were joined by Republicans in opposing a public option as the “thin end of the wedge” that would lead to a single-payer healthcare system. Supporters of the public option fear that the White House is preparing to junk the provision in favour of getting a deal.
Mr Rockefeller said the public option was designed to ensure there was competition for private insurers. In roughly half the US states, two insurers dominated the market.
Heh, if Senator Rockefeller where really interested increased competition he’d be pushing for a bill that would allow health insurance companies to compete equally in all 50 states. Currently each state regulates it’s own insurance markets and mandates different coverages.
The current system restricts competition, drives up costs and allows just one or two insurance plans to dominate the market in most states. Allowing our nations health insurers to compete on level playing field nationwide will do far more to increase competition and reduce costs than the public option would.
The simple truth is the public option is not about increasing competition, it’s the gateway to creating a single payer system which is Democrats ultimate goal.
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- Medicare ‘Gag Order’ A Sign That Obama, Democrats Are Desperate on Health Care, Republican Leader Says – CNSNews.com