Senate Shoots Down "Public Option" Health Reform

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[Beating Dead Horses]
The Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday rejected two Democratic amendments that would have created a government-run "public option" as part an overhaul of the nation's health-insurance system, with the panel's chairman bowing to staunch Republican opposition that he said would prevent final passage of a bill containing such a provision.

After an amendment offered by Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.) was voted down 15 to 8, the committee voted 13 to 10 to reject a second public-option provision introduced by Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.). The committee chairman, Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), voted against both politically volatile amendments, saying he feared that a bill including either one would not get the 60 votes it would need for passage by the full Senate.

Republicans stood solidly against both provisions, arguing that they would lead to complete government control over health care.

But Schumer vowed to keep pressing for a public option on grounds it was the best way to control rising health-care costs.

"The present system is broken," he told the committee. He said he was pushing for a public option not for ideological or symbolic reasons but because "costs are going through the roof." And he expressed confidence that, "with some work and some compromise," proponents of the provision eventually could get 60 votes on the Senate floor.





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