From Fox News, September 29, 2009:
“Key Senate Committee Votes Against Government-Run Health Insurance Plan”
“The Senate Finance Committee has voted against creating a new government health insurance plan to compete with the private market.
The 15-to-8 vote could forecast the fate of the public option in the Senate as a whole. The outcome was expected but still a defeat for liberals who view government-sponsored insurance for the middle class as a key component of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.
Five committee Democrats, including Chairman Max Baucus, joined with all 10 committee Republicans to defeat the measure by Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia.
Opponents said a public option would drive private insurers out of business and amount to a government takeover. Proponents said it would give consumers choice and competition.”
“Democrats remain divided on the need to create a government plan — and Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) is already in the hot seat — accused of being lukewarm, if not downright hostile, to the public option.
Sen. Kent Conrad, D-ND, who has crafted an alternative plan that would set up a series of non-profit health care cooperatives, blasted Rockefeller’s plan, saying, “The devil is in the details.” Conrad said if the amendment is implemented, “every major hospital goes broke.”
“I can’t possibly support any amendment that does that,” he said.
Congressional aides on both sides of the issue say that the public option amendments are not expected to pass out of the Finance Committee. Schumer has called the committee debate a beginning of “a conversation about the public option,” saying, “It gets people thinking.”
Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-NM, said he could support a public option, but he disagrees with Rockefeller’s approach. “I think there is a problem with providing Medicare reimbursement rates,” Bingaman said, echoing the concerns of Conrad.
As senators continue to spar over the public option, two liberal groups are launching a hard-hitting television and Internet ad featuring a young father from Montana. Bing Perrine, 26, who needs a heart operation and is uninsured and deeply in debt, looks straight into the camera and asks Baucus: “Whose side are you on?”
The ad is sponsored by Democracy for America and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which say Baucus is too cozy with insurance and health care interests that have contributed to his campaigns and oppose a government plan.”