Public Option Debate Moves to Forefront
By Ben Pershing
Congress will bear down this week on two of the most vexing issues in the health-care debate -- how to pay for the reform plan, and whether it should include a public insurance option -- as well as side skirmishes on topics like abortion and drug reimportation.
The Senate Finance Committee's ongoing markup pits Democrats against each other, and outside groups are also participating in intraparty warfare: The Progressive Campaign Change Committee and Democracy for America are airing an ad in D.C. and Montana accusing Max Baucus of being on the side of insurance companies. Baucus has to navigate the bill through three different factions of Senate Democrats, Kaiser Health News writes.
No one expects the Finance Committee's final bill to include the public option, but supporters argue that the very fact the panel will draw attention to the topic by debating it this week will give the cause a boost before they try again on the Senate floor. After the New York Times stated as fact Monday that the combined Senate bill would not include the public option, Harry Reid's office made a point of pushing back to say no decisions had been made yet on what would be in the bill. Seeking to reassure fellow liberals, Jonathan Cohn looks abroad to the example of the Netherlands, which "has managed to build a popular and successful universal health care program based entirely on private insurance."
Posted at 8:20 AM ET on Sep 29, 2009
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