Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., right, gavels the start of the markup of health care legislation on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2009. From left are, Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., and Baucus.

Senate panel rejects public option

The Finance Committee votes down the first of two amendments that would add a government plan to healthcare reform

Mike Madden
September 29, 2009 10:59PM (UTC)

The Senate Finance Committee just blocked an attempt by Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, to add a robust public option to healthcare reform legislation.

By a 15-8 vote, the committee rejected Rockefeller's amendment, which would have set up a public option that paid hospitals and doctors 5 percent more than Medicare does. Democrats Max Baucus (the committee chairman), Blanche Lincoln, Tom Carper, Kent Conrad and Bill Nelson voted against it.


Now the committee is moving on to a second amendment, sponsored by New York Democrat Chuck Schumer, that would set up a public insurance plan that negotiates its prices with providers, the same way private plans do. A vote on that is expected later Tuesday.

Mike Madden

Mike Madden is Salon's Washington correspondent. A complete listing of his articles is here. Follow him on Twitter here.

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