September 29th, 2009
03:12 PM ET
12 years ago

Senate panel votes down public option proposal

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Sen. Baucus was among the five Democrats who voted against adding a public option to the health care bill."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday rejected an amendment to include a government-run public health insurance option in the only compromise health care bill so far.

The amendment by Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia fell by a 15-8 vote, with committee chairman Sen. Max Baucus of Montana and four other Democrats joining all 10 Republicans in opposing the measure.

The other Democrats voting against the public option amendment were Sens. Blanch Lincoln of Arkansas, Bill Nelson of Florida, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, and Tom Carper of Delaware.

It was one of two amendments for a public option proposed by Democrats, and the committee immediately began debate on the second amendment proposed by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York.

Baucus explained he liked much about the idea of a public option, but he knew a health care bill containing the provision would fail to win enough support in the full Senate to overcome a Republican filibuster.

"I fear if this provision is in the bill, it will hold back meaningful reform this year," Baucus said.

UPDATE: The Schumer amendment on the public option also failed. It drew the support of 10 Democrats, including Carper and Nelson. Baucus, Conrad and Lincoln joined the GOP vote against it.

Filed under: Health care
soundoff (211 Responses)
  1. AJ

    Of course they did. The Senate, including Democrats, is more concerned with protecting corporate America than in protecting the health of American citizens. The bill as written is nothing but a giveaway to health insurance companies.

    September 29, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  2. Baucus is a Joke

    And what is meaningful reform Mr. Baucus? Letting the insurance companies continue to have their giant profits in an industry they clearly don't belong? Shame on you. I hope someday someone very close to you has to declare bankruptcy after their insurance company denies paying for something related to their health that they desperately need. Then you will know sir what it feels like to be on the other side of the debate for a public option. It's such a shame that the people who have the ability to change policy for the good of the people are bought by Big Business and used as thier puppets. Shame on you Mr. Baucus, you closet Republican.

    September 29, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  3. brian

    Why are the democrats so worried what the Republicans think? You have the majority, use it! They will bend over backwards for the GOP and they will still get no bipartisan support. If ever there was a time to bun a bridge it's now. Include a PUBLIC OPTION!

    September 29, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  4. Irene

    What is wrong with you guys? The public option is crucial for HCR. Let's vote you all out of office and put people ion there who are not afraid of change and losing their campaign funds from the insurance industry. Really, how can you sleep at night?

    September 29, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  5. Carrie, IN

    This is a mistake. I don't want to give one red cent to the insurance companies without a way to create more competition for them. They have enough of my money and I get zero service.

    September 29, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  6. ob08

    Why are these democrats who voted against the bill in office for? Obviously they are not representing the majority of American's who wants a Public Option. I hope you all lose your seats in the next elections and replaced by real democats. You guys are pathetic.

    September 29, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  7. ROn

    No Public Option = no vote from me

    September 29, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  8. Steve Lyons

    Finally a lick of sense has descended on DC. I wonder if they are hearing us now? Maybe Congress needs Verizon.........

    September 29, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  9. From PA

    The majority of Americans want a public option... but we do not matter. Big business is controlling the debate.

    September 29, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  10. Steve Lyons

    Maybe they will scuttle the crap and tax bill the house shoved up their keister. We need another march on Washington till they all retire.

    September 29, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  11. Scott

    Sad thing is, We have got a bunch of so called Blue Dog Democrats that is dressed Democrats clothing, but in reality their hard core right wing Republicans. These People that joined these Republicans should be voted out of office. I believe the insurance companies got the best of these guys. I tell you what to do all of all those Senators and Represenatives that oppose the public option for the American people. Drop your government runned health insurance and go out and shop around like a true American!!

    September 29, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  12. kaleto


    Now if we can just get a few more democrats who haven't been sold on the socilization of America...

    September 29, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  13. Ivan

    As a Democrat I am disgusted by the Democrats that vote against this Public Option.
    I will now support primary challenges to these Senators.
    The majority of American support a Public Option.
    These Senators have forgotten that the preamble to our Constitution states, "We the People" not we the corporations.


    September 29, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  14. Sherri Z

    I am extremely disappointed with this decision. This is a prime example of special interest running our government. An overwhelming majority of Americans support a public option including me. For profit health care companies win, American families lose. When are they going to change the wording of the Constitution from "We the people" to "We the corporations and elite few"? The entire world is progressing around us, and America is staying the same. I want to live in a country that strives to improve the quality of life for every American.

    September 29, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  15. Tim

    Watch the waltz of the lefty loons tonight.

    September 29, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  16. Roger

    I only hope that every democrat that voted against a public option will not be re-elected when their term is up....I would rather see a republican who we all know does not care about health care be elected than a democrat who is acting like a republican....

    September 29, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  17. kyle

    Baucus says, "I fear if this provision is in the bill, it will hold back meaningful reform this year." The public option IS the meaningful reform that Democrats sent their new Senators and President to obtain. Nothing else is more meaningful than that. If I were a Senator I would not cast my vote by adding up the numbers of everyone else. I would simply vote my conscience. Maybe I'm different than the rest of the world.

    September 29, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  18. Jayson

    At what point in time are these political hacks going to wake up and try making changes that will make a difference and don't require a new government bureacracy to run them.

    If there is a single federally mandated minimum level of health coverage and companies can compete across state lines then there will be competition. If medical lawsuits are handled by those with actual knowledge of medical procedures as well as reasobnable limits put in place for malpractice lawsuits then malpractice insurance costs will come down.

    Chances are none of these changes will happen because they require too much common sense and would harm the pocketbooks of lawyers and the lawyers on Capitol Hill aren't going to cause any harm to their own.

    September 29, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  19. Porter Hemming

    I would like to point out to those of you to whom this fact has not yet occurred: Even with maximum Medicare available to the elderly, there is still the necessity for a second insurance policy because Medicare only pays part of the bill. Will the same not apply to any government-run insurance? That we still have to have a supplement to cover ALL costs?

    September 29, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  20. LacrosseMom

    ******* Warning******* to the Blue Dogs Democrats, you dogs better be careful, you will be voted out of office in 2010!

    The foundation of Capitalism IS competition! Public Option will provide competition between Insurance companies & Big Pharma!

    September 29, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  21. Preco

    15 rogues vs 8 honest people. Amen

    September 29, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  22. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, North Carolina

    Common sense is breaking out all over the place!

    Either that a few political survival instincts kicked in.

    (BTW, the people voting for this wholesale waste of taxpayer money were Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), John Kerry (D-MA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), John Rockefeller (D-WV), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Debbie Ann Stabenow (D-MI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR). I hope the good people of those states remember those names...)

    September 29, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  23. stan

    The gop has put fear into some democrats,but the democrats still can pass this with 51 votes,dont let the gop put fear into you scary nuts,because the gop will be absolete by 2020 believe me...because the minority vote is going to be to big for the gop to over come

    September 29, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  24. Concerned for the USA

    Wouldn't it be a nice country if our elected officials all voted with their hearts, and not on some stupid fear of what the opposition is thinking?

    We should call him "Glass Half Empty" Baucus.

    September 29, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  25. Obama Victim

    Public Option??? R I P

    September 29, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
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