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Taco John
09-29-2009, 02:16 PM
Senate Panel Rejects Pair of Public Options in Health Plan

By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN
Published: September 29, 2009

WASHINGTON — After a half-day of animated debate, the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday rejected efforts by liberal Democrats to add a government-run health insurance plan to major health care legislation, dealing the first official setback to an idea that many Democrats, including President Obama, say they support.

All of the other versions of the health care legislation advancing in Congress — a bill approved by the Senate health committee and a trio of bills in the House — include some version of the government-run plan, or public option.

But the Finance Committee chairman, Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana, long ago removed it from his proposal because of stiff opposition from Republicans who call the public plan a step toward “socialized medicine.”

The committee on Tuesday afternoon voted, 15 to 8, to reject an amendment proposed by Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, Democrat of West Virginia, to add a public option called the Community Choice Health Plan, an outcome that underscored the lack of support for a government plan among many Democrats.

Mr. Baucus voted no, as did Senators Thomas R. Carper of Delaware, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, and Bill Nelson of Florida, joining all 10 Republicans in opposition.

A second amendment by Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, to create a different version of a public plan was also defeated, though by a closer margin, 13 to 10, with the added support of Mr. Carper and Mr. Nelson.

Mr. Schumer who voted in favor of both proposals, said supporters of the public option would keep on fighting.

“We are going to keep at this and at this and at this until we succeed, because we believe in it so strongly,” he said.

Advocates of a public plan say it would provide crucial competition for private insurers and that the larger goals of the legislation, to extend coverage to more than 30 million uninsured Americans and to slow the steep rise in health care costs, cannot be achieved without it.

The debate came as the Finance Committee resumed debate over the health care bill after a three-day weekend because of Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement.

In the emotionally charged debate, Mr. Rockefeller railed against the practices of private insurers, who he suggested were largely preying on a defenseless American public. “They’re getting away with terrible things,” he said.

But Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the senior Republican on the Finance Committee, stepped in to voice his party’s fierce opposition to the idea of government-run insurance.

“A government run plan will ultimately force private insurers out of business,” Mr. Grassley said, adding that supporters of the public option were trying to open a back door toward a fully government-run, or single-payer, health system like those in Canada or England.

“Public option is a step toward a completely government run plan that they are hoping for,” Mr. Grassley said.

And he rejected assertions by Democrats, including Mr. Rockefeller, that the public plan would compete fairly because it would have to follow the same rules as private insurers.

“The federal government will not only be running the plan, it will also be running the market in which it competes with the private plans and that doesn’t sound like a level playing field to me,” Mr. Grassley said.

Democrats quickly rose up to answer the charges, including Mr. Schumer, who challenged Mr. Grassley to spell out his views on Medicare, the government insurance plan for Americans over age 65 and for the disabled.

“I just want to know what you think of Medicare, which is a much more government-run program,” Mr. Schumer said.

“I think that Medicare is part of the social fabric of America just like Social Security is,” Mr. Grassley said. “To say that I support it is not to say that it’s the best system that it could be.”

“But it is a government-run plan,” Mr. Schumer shot back.

Mr. Grassley, a veteran Senate debater, insisted that Medicare did not pose a threat to the private insurance industry. “It’s not easy to undo a Medicare plan without also hurting a lot of private initiatives that are coupled with it,” he said.

Mr. Schumer pounced. “You are supportive of Medicare,” he said. “I just don’t understand the difference. That’s a government-run plan and the main knock you have made on Senator Rockefeller’s amendment, and I am sure on mine, is that it’s government-run.”

The efforts by Mr. Rockefeller and Mr. Schumer to add a public plan to the bill were really just a dress rehearsal for a fuller battle that will play out on the Senate floor in the weeks ahead.

Senate Democratic leaders, however, do not believe there will be sufficient support to add the public option to the bill.

Aides to the majority leader, Senator Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, say that he will not include a provision for the public option when he combines the measures coming out of the finance and health committees.

Mr. Rockefeller, Mr. Schumer and other supporters of a government-run plan will bring floor amendments trying once again to add it to the legislation.

And even when the debate over the public option is taken up on the Senate floor, most likely it will not be finished.

There is wider support for a government-run insurance plan in the House, where the Democratic caucus is more liberal. And if the House bill includes a public option, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi has indicated, the issue will ultimately be decided in a conference proceedings to reconcile the Senate and House bills.

As an alternative, Mr. Baucus included in his bill a proposal to create private, nonprofit health insurance cooperatives to compete with private insurers.

The Congressional Budget Office has questioned whether the cooperatives would really have much effect. And there are Democrats and Republicans on the Finance Committee who have proposed amendments that would strip the cooperative provisions.

The main architect of that proposal, Mr. Conrad said during the committee debate that it would provide “strong not for profit competition to the private insurers.” But he warned that hospitals in his home state would be devastated by Mr. Rockefeller’s proposal, which would initially tie the public plan’s payment rates to the rates paid by Medicare.

Many hospitals, doctors and other health care providers say Medicare rates are too low.

Mr. Conrad urged his colleagues to consider his alternative,. “We have gotten locked in a very sterile debate ,” he said.


http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/30/health/policy/30health.html?_r=2&hp

BucEyedPea
09-29-2009, 02:17 PM
Whew! Close calls....but it ain't over. Even if it doesn't make it this time....they'll be back with another bill.

KCWolfman
09-29-2009, 02:23 PM
Thank goodness.

Keep up the fight though. Let your congressmen know what they are planning is against the will of the people.

BucEyedPea
09-29-2009, 02:31 PM
Thank goodness.

Keep up the fight though. Let your congressmen know what they are planning is against the will of the people.

So if the people want it that would be okay with you?
I say there's no Constitutional authority for it regardless of what the people may want.

KCWolfman
09-29-2009, 02:52 PM
So if the people want it that would be okay with you?
I say there's no Constitutional authority for it regardless of what the people may want.

Just because murder is wrong for six reasons I can think of off the top of my head doesn't mean that I need to mention all six each time I bring up the subject.

BucEyedPea
09-29-2009, 02:53 PM
Just because murder is wrong for six reasons I can think of off the top of my head doesn't mean that I need to mention all six each time I bring up the subject.

huh? :hmmm::shrug:

Taco John
09-29-2009, 02:54 PM
He said, "no. the fight you're picking is a dead end here."

BucEyedPea
09-29-2009, 03:07 PM
I'm not picking a fight. I was asking a question to clarify what his view was.

Direckshun
09-29-2009, 03:10 PM
Very disappointing.

alnorth
09-29-2009, 03:24 PM
While nice, this wasnt unexpected at all, and isnt really news. The Baucus bill will likely come out of committee mostly untouched and will likely pass. Public option amendments will fail on the senate floor, the real question is what will happen in conference.

Unless you really do believe in a single-payer system (which is fine if thats what you believe and you think private health insurance should not exist), then the public option should be an un-negotiable deal-breaker in any health care reform bill.

SNR
09-29-2009, 03:27 PM
:clap: Go Conrad!

wild1
09-29-2009, 03:42 PM
And any debate there might have been... has ended.

KCWolfman
09-29-2009, 04:03 PM
huh? :hmmm::shrug:

I was stating that if I noted everything wrong with the passage I would list way too many reasons that would be picked apart. Instead focus on a single task that carries weight and is irrefutable.
Posted via Mobile Device

thecoffeeguy
09-29-2009, 04:17 PM
Good. keep the fight up.
I look forward to seeing this go down in flames!

BucEyedPea
09-29-2009, 04:47 PM
I was stating that if I noted everything wrong with the passage I would list way too many reasons that would be picked apart. Instead focus on a single task that carries weight and is irrefutable.
Posted via Mobile Device

Ah, I see. TYVM.

BucEyedPea
09-29-2009, 04:55 PM
I got this in my email

September 29, 2009

Dear fellow defender of liberty,

This is it.

The next few weeks will determine whether Barack Obama and the statists [socialists, fascist and communists] in Congress massively increase the government's control over healthcare (16% of the U.S. economy and rising).

Make no mistake, this is one of the most important political battles of our lifetimes; and the actions by Campaign for Liberty activists like you have already made a big impact here in Washington in slowing down and casting doubt on what a few months ago the experts said was a "done deal."

But the statists are pushing back hard. So, I ask for your help today.

Click here to hear an urgent message from Campaign for Liberty President John Tate and then, please, take all the actions John requests.

Liberty must be defended, day-after-day, over-and-over ... when it is not the statists win.

Donger
09-29-2009, 05:10 PM
And any debate there might have been... has ended.

LMAO

Taco John
09-29-2009, 05:10 PM
Very disappointing.

Isn't that what policy makers do?

RINGLEADER
09-29-2009, 05:41 PM
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KCWolfman
09-29-2009, 05:48 PM
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Crap!!! "Insurance is regulated at the state level".

So you are saying this public option, which will reimburse providers less, which will be offered at a lower price to the consumer, which will be allowed in all 50 states - is not an attempt to remove all insurance companies from the equation and end up with a federal mandated insurance policy for every American? Insurance companies will not be able to compete at any level. This is an abomination to fair trade practices.

Remove the public option, you vulgar thieves.

Taco John
09-29-2009, 08:18 PM
I don't think liberals really understand the concept of insurance.

Velvet_Jones
09-29-2009, 09:21 PM
I don't think liberals really understand the concept of insurance.

They don't understand profit margins either. Health Insurance plans have a margin or 3.3-3.6%. Yet, pollution and treatment control industry has a 5.8% and Education and Training services industry is 11.7% - both industries supported by libs. Why don't they go after these industires that are raping the public? Its not about the insurance industries vast profits, its about control over peoples lives to shape them into some vision of utopia. Facts be dammed.

They don't want to understand insurance, it doesn't fit their argument.

RJ
09-29-2009, 09:30 PM
I hate Big Education and Training Services Industry.

Mojo Jojo
09-29-2009, 09:56 PM
I love over at DU those clowns are upset that Senators from small states have a say in what is happening. I guess the Constitution only counts when the left wants it to. Get over it...two Senators per state to make sure big states do not run the country.

God Bless The US Constitution. May many read it some day.