GOP wants to force Obama to use public option

Republicans introduce an amendment that would compel the president and the cabinet to enroll in the government plan

Published December 7, 2009 2:35PM (EST)

Senate Republicans had what seemed like a pretty good idea when it comes to the fight over healthcare reform: Propose an amendment that would force all members of Congress to enroll in whatever form of public option is included in the final bill. That plan backfired, though, when their Democratic counterparts decided to actually support the amendment. So now the GOP's going further.

The latest version of the amendment is broader; beyond members of Congress, it also includes staff members, something that had been a sticking point for Democrats before. More than that, though, it would force President Obama and his cabinet into the public option.

"The White House and cabinet secretaries are working very hard for this massive overhaul of America's health care system," Grassley said in a statement reported by the Huffington Post's Ryan Grim. "It's only fair that if this bill becomes law, these individuals should themselves be subject to the reforms. The same is true for congressional staff. Quietly carving out leadership staff and committee staff behind closed doors is unacceptable. If the reforms are as good as their supporters say, the reforms should be good enough for everybody."

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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