Earlier today, a majority of the members of the Senate Finance Committee – including Democratic Senator Max Baucus of Montana – voted against amendments to add a public option to the healthcare reform bill they were considering. While the vote may be surprising to some, I’m not entirely shocked, considering Sen. Baucus has taken more than $3.9 million in campaign contributions from the health insurance lobby.
Shortly after the Senate Finance Committee’s failure to include the public health insurance options offered by Senator John Rockefeller (D-WV) and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) during consideration of the committee’s health care reform proposal, Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) released the following statement:
“I am disappointed the Senate Finance Committee rejected amendments offered by Senator Rockefeller and Senator Schumer to include a public health insurance option in its health care reform legislation. I have strongly supported a public health insurance option from the start as a way to increase competition in the health care industry and drive down costs. A public health insurance option is key to ensuring every American is able to afford health insurance and without it, I don’t see how we will bring real reform to the system. I will continue to work with my colleagues to include a public option in the bill when it comes to the Senate floor.”