Monday, October 26, 2009

Sen. Reid To Bring Public Option To Floor Debate

Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced that he will bring a bill to the Senate floor that will have a public health insurance option, and that states will have the choice not to take part in it. Here Reid makes his announcement:

Reid: As we’ve gone through this process, I’ve concluded, with the support of the White House and Senators Baucus and Dodd, that the best way forward is to include a public option with an opt-out provision for states.

...I believe that a public option can achieve the goal of bringing meaningful reform to our broken system. It will protect consumers, keep insurers honest and ensure competition and that’s why we intend to include it on the bill that will be submitted to the Senate for consideration.

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said that the Senate leadership prevailed upon the White House, which doubted that Reid could get the 60 votes needed to avoid a Republican filibuster. The administration's strategy was to pursue the "trigger" compromise of Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-MN): if the insurance companies failed to reach certain benchmarks in a state, the public option would be triggered. Though Snowe expressed "disappointment" at the announcement, Reid expressed hope that she will be the lone Republican who "...sees the wisdom of supporting a health care bill."

We still have a long way to go–but Senators Reid, Pelosi and Schumer, along with Roland Burris (D-IL), Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Bernie Sanders (IND-VT) are to be commended for insisting on the public option as a critical component of health care reform.

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