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A Public Option is Alive and Kicking

On Tuesday the Senate Finance Committee voted on two public option amendments, one from Jay Rockefeller and another by Charles Schumer. Both went down to defeat, which gave the impression the public option is dead. I address this at my latest AIP column:

Is the public option portion of the health care bill dead? This is the discussion in the wake of the public option amendment votes in Tuesday's Senate Finance Committee meeting. Jay Rockefeller's amendment would have created a pure public option that was essentially an extension of Medicare. That amendment was defeated soundly 8-15. Charles Schumer's amendment followed. Some characterized it as a watered down version of Rockefeller's. Its reimbursement rates would not be tied to Medicare but would be independently negotiated and doctors and hospitals could opt in. Schumer's amendment was defeated as well, 10-13. However, don't be fooled by what appeared to be the demise of the public option. Senate progressives are confident that they can get a bill that contains a public option onto the president's desk.

Senate public option advocates believe the Senate Finance Committee is a more conservative body than the Senate itself, so Tuesday's vote may have been merely an experiment to determine which option stood a better chance of actually passing the Senate as a whole. Since Schumer's amendment was defeated by only three Democratic votes, public option advocates are now convinced they can pass a health care reform bill with the public option on the Senate floor. As Senator Tom Harkin explained on MSNBC, Senate Democrats may not be able to marshal the 60 votes some believe they need, but they can certainly get 51, which will allow them to use the reconciliation process, a maneuver normally used to pass contentious budget bills quickly. Reconciliation is controversial, but Schumer and company feel momentum is now behind them, so be assured they will implement a full court press to get a public option on the floor of the Senate.

Read all of it and tell me if I'm right or way off base. I have always believed that the Dems will do what ever they can to get the Holy Grail of health care, the single payer system, and the public option is the best way to get there. Now that they have majorities in both houses, I don't see them walking away from this opportunity so easily. Let me know what you think either here or at the article itself.

When you're at AIP, be sure to stop by and read some of the other blog posts and columns that are posted. Lorie Byrd has a great column up today about fictitious stimulus numbers. Ed Morrissey explains why it is nearly impossible to restructure the tax code. On the AIP blog, the daily Morning Conservative Reading List is always a great place to start. Matt Margolis discusses the possibility of state mandated vaccines. Patrick Ishmael writes that something's rotten in how Missouri's Nixon Administration handled an E. coli break out. John Hanlon examines the differences between Joe Wilson and Alan Grayson.


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Comments (9)

Since Obama redefined what ... (Below threshold)

Since Obama redefined what 'tax' meant with Stephanopoulos in order to claim that a tax wasn't a tax, I expect a similar tactic with the public option. The Democrats will simply include some type of 'public option' and claim that the public option was removed.

Regardless of what the indi... (Below threshold)

Regardless of what the individual members of the Democratic House and Senate may say at any given time, it is instructive to focus on what the people driving health care "reform" have been saying from the very beginning. They want the US to migrate to a single payer, socialized medicine system, and view the "public option" as the best way to get there. And they have clearly stated from the very beginning that they will use any and all means to achieve that goal. For Pelosi, Reid, Obama, Schumer, et al, the end justifies the means.

In other words, expect a bill that includes a public option and full federal funding for abortion to be on Obama's desk by Halloween.

I gathered from Hennesey th... (Below threshold)
gary gulrud:

I gathered from Hennesey that the Reconciliation process had a requirement(not that that means anything in practice, of course), from the old 'contract with America', that the bill not add to the deficit.

I suppose 'pay as you go' foaming about the mouth is a sufficient waffle, but this should cause appropriate bad press(non-MSM naturally).

Let the Dems force a public... (Below threshold)

Let the Dems force a public option. As far as I know, suicide isn't against the law.

Isn't suicide against the l... (Below threshold)

Isn't suicide against the law, they just can't get you if you are dead? If you fail at suicide I bet there are all kinds of things they can hit you with depending on the method.

We need suicide booths.

I don't think we should be ... (Below threshold)

I don't think we should be jumping to conclusions about government funded abortion if a public option is to pass. I don't see the two as being correlated. Also, I don't think things are as cut and dry as many of you are making it out to be. It'll be a while before this passes with a public option or not.

I think the top Democrats r... (Below threshold)

I think the top Democrats regard this as the ISSUE of this century and will do whatever it takes.

The GOP is as befuddled as usual, or even more so. Some see how important it is, most just don't want to every be blamed for anything.

If the Dem leadership can't openly get the optional equipment they want on their ObamaCareWagon they will try to concealment.

There is no reason why ten new words or thousands can't magically appear in the document put on O's desk for signature.

There is so much confusion and deception and obstruction in Congress that the matter would never be straightened out.

Two-thirds of the members wouldn't have even read what they voted for. And ninety-five percent would keep quiet rather than protest even if they were sure of fraud.

How much would the media care? About as much as those in Congress, ninety-five percent - including Charles Gibson - wouldn't have heard of the issue. Five percent would yell. Nothing would be investigated.

When the Health Care option... (Below threshold)
Megan Tahoma:

When the Health Care option was first brought up in the election the IDEA of the public option was merely a leverage piece for Obama. With this leverage he could flirt with both sides and find common groud. But, Oama has gone to far. Yes the Democrates wil try to do what is necceary but, to what cost. Those who support Obama on his HEalth care plan for example, fail to reilize that the American people can not possible afford his plan beaucse (if they were paying any attention) Congress pased a stimulus package not too long agao. Soon, (if the health plan passes) the American people will be in dire debt and they will return to the depths of another American Depression. But don't worry, Obama will send the wealthy a nice post card from his trip to the Grand Canyon with an enclosed photo of all the money that he recived from the American people peticularly the Laborers; being dumped into the Grand Canyon by the same dump truck used to despose normal human waste. Of course it can not be used for human waste because no one can be paid to drive it beacuse there id no more funding beaucse there is barely anyone left in society to pay for thier jobs.
As for the comment of "sucide is not against the law." In some states it is illeagal to commit suicide in a public place and they are fined 500 dollars. Try to see the justice in that.

It's not dead, but it needs... (Below threshold)

It's not dead, but it needs some serious resuscitation. http://www.newsy.com/videos/not_much_of_a_healthy_option






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