A big day for the public option

The Senate Finance Committee, a pivotal player in the healthcare reform debate, takes up the idea

Topics: Max Baucus, D-Mont., Healthcare Reform, War Room, Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.,

If healthcare reform does pass Congress any time soon, and the final legislation contains a public option, we’ll all probably look back on this day as key. That’s because the Senate Finance Committee, a pivotal player in the whole drama, is taking up at least two possible amendments that would add a public option to its bill.

It’s by no means assured that the public option can pass the committee. And if it does, it could still die when it comes to a vote in the full Senate. There are still enough Senate Democrats who’ve wavered on the subject, or who outright oppose the idea, that it seems like it’ll be very tough to get the caucus to hold together and provide all of the 60 votes that would be needed in case of a Republican filibuster. In the committee itself, Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., the chair, has seemed lukewarm at best when it comes to the public option, and that’s one of the reasons the committee’s bill — which he’s spent a fair amount of time shepherding — doesn’t include it.

For right now, we know of two amendments that would add a public plan to the legislation being considered. One is being introduced by Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., who’s modeling his proposal on Medicare. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., is responsible for the other.

There’s still the possibility of a third amendment, though, one everyone’s watching for. Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe, the lone Republican who’s seemed willing to support some form of the Democratic proposals, may offer some sort of “trigger.” That’s a compromise proposal in which the public option would not be active at first, but would be launched if private insurance companies don’t meet certain targets by a given date.

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 10
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Michael Ohl/Museum fur Naturkunde

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Soul-Sucking Dementor Wasp

    Latin name: Ampulex dementor

    Truong Ngyuen

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    10,000th reptile species

    Latin name: Cyrtodactylus vilaphongi

    Jodi Rowley/Australian Museum

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Colour-changing thorny frogs

    Latin name: Gracixalus lumarius

    Judith L. Eger

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Long-fanged bat

    Latin name: Hypsugo dolichodon

    Neang Thy Moe/FFI

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Stealthy wolf snake

    Latin name: Lycodon zoosvictoriae

    Michael Janes

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Feathered coral

    Latin name: Ovabunda andamanensis

    Jerome Constant

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    World's second-longest insect

    Phryganistria heusii yentuensis

    Nantasak Pinkaew

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Slide 8

    Latin name: Sirindhornia spp

    Tim Johnson

    Soul-sucking 'dementor' wasps and 8 other crazy new species

    Slide 9

    Tylototriton shanorum

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>