FoxNews.com reported yesterday that Democrats’ hopes for a public insurance option are waning fast. After two weeks of grassroots efforts on both sides to either extinguish or support the plan, it has come out that a public insurance option simply will not pass in the Senate. However, several Democrats in the House have also pledged not to vote for a bill that leaves out a public option.
Jim Dean, chairman of progressive group Democracy for America, sent an email to supporters on Monday urging them not to settle for non-profit cooperatives in place of a public option. He wrote: “Let’s be clear: A health care bill without a public option is D.O.A. in the House. Period. To pass any bill in the House, they need at least 218 votes but 64 House Democrats have stood up and said they will not vote for a bill without a public option. That means a bill without a public option would only have 193 votes.”
Over the weekend, several members on the left as well as President Obama admitted the public option is not the key element in the health care reform bill. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Sunday that, “We need some choices, we need some competition”.
Many liberal supporters have criticized the Obama administration for backing away from a public option. Representative Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) said, “Leaving private insurance companies the job of controlling the costs of health care is like making a pyromaniac the fire chief”.
Moreover, former presidential candidate, Howard Dean, said meaningful change in the health care system is not possible without a public option.
However, as Senator Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) pointed out on Fox News Sunday, “The fact of the matter is there are not the votes in the United States Senate for the public option. There never have been. So to continue to chase that rabbit I think is just a wasted effort”.
For more health care reform details, click here: No Government-Run Health Insurance, No Bill, Say Liberal Supporters of Reform