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. Willa

    Look at the big smile...wonder how long it will last before he's sorry and gets voted out.

    September 29, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  2. m jeff

    Now we know who is getting money from the Insurance industry, Let the Insurance industry crooks continue to rob us and hold us hostage.

    September 29, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |

    I can not believe what I am reading.. Ok.. the public option proposal got vote down.. thats all fine and well. the part I CAN NOT believe is the amount of Democrats that Voted against it.. You know what You DEMOCRATS NEED TO WAKE-UP. We the people did not make u the Majority party to vote with the Minority party.. VERRRRYYYY DISAPPOINTED WITH YOU GUYS.

    September 29, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  4. Justin Williams

    What were those guys at the senate thinking? It bothers me that a public option for health care is still out of reach. We dont need health care reform by 2012, we need it Now!!!

    September 29, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  5. Stortz

    "a health care bill containing the provision would fail to win enough support in the full Senate to overcome a Republican filibuster"

    Then MAKE them filibuster it! They will not vote for anything that is good for American's anyway.

    All those that oppose the public option ought to start looking for a new job! If you didn't come to the table to work for the American People, then you are on the wrong side of the table, GO HOME!

    September 29, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  6. Florida Joe

    I watched this on CNN on line............If there was any doubt that Senator Baucus is in the pocket of the health insurance industry it has now been removed..............Rather than doing what the majority of the public want Baucus is concerned about his Bill getting 60 votes......Senator have you ever heard of Reconciliation?....the Repubs certainly have as they used it for the Bush Tax cuts for the wealthy that played a large part in driving the huge deficit .................You sir are NOT for the people

    September 29, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  7. Peejay

    If the provision isn't in the bill, the reform is meaningless.

    September 29, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  8. Mike In Kansas

    Well Baucus has obviously determined he is the Senator of the insurance industry and not his own state. Thats good now his state can kick him out of office the next time he come up for election. He is so obviously in the pocket of the insurance over lords. Just follow the money.

    September 29, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  9. JJ

    Simply pathetic-I just hope that people who are so against the public option keep their mouths shut when they suffer a life threating illness and go bankrupt-of course they won't though, they will be trying to capture 15 minutes of fame crying in front of America.

    September 29, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  10. Keith

    Does this really suprise anybody? The latest Rassmusen Reports Poll shows that only 41% of americans support the current health care reform proposals, and that number is dropping lower everyday. The Poll also shows only 16% of senior citizens support the current health care proposals! That tells me that seniors don't want their Medicare reimbursements cut by over $500 billion dollars in the years of their lives that they need it the most only to give it to people who are younger and fully capable of working and providing for their own health insurance, and that the majority of americans don't want that either. The majority of americans do not agree with Obama when he says that money spent on senior citizens through medicare is wasteful spending. Senior citizens have paid the most into the system, so they should get the most out of the system.

    September 29, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  11. janice

    Sen. Baucus is a failure. I hope Montana send him on a rail smoking. It is time to stop letting these people dictate to us what is best for the American people when we spoke very loud and clear in Nov. 08. This committee is only one out of five and the other four have a public option in them, so it is not dead yet. Max Baucus needs to go work for the insirance industry, because he is not doing a darn thing for the American public. Sorry Representative...

    September 29, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  12. The Teester

    Here we go and here comes the water...better than a blank...I Guess

    September 29, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    Someone get this guy out from under the insurance industry's desk. His jaw must be killing him by now.

    September 29, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  14. Voted4HealthCare

    A big thank you to the 8 senators brave enough to represent the majority in this country who support a public option.

    Shame on my xGOP and any "conservative" Dem who represents corporate greed over the best interests of Americans.

    We will not forget which side these senators were on with this vote.

    September 29, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  15. Peter

    The so called senate is in the pay roll of insurance companies, pharmaceuticals and lobbyists! talk about double faced hyenas. When is the law going to separate corporations and politics because as long as the corporations keeps on giving contributions to the politicians they are no longer on the public side and guess what? the same corporations and lobbyist will contribute in the next cycle (elections) run strong misleading advertisement fool the public get elected back in the senate again and the money and mind games goes on and on! and who is the looser the entire public. No one should expect a free ride on healthcare but the senate is just giving that to the insurance companies!

    September 29, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  16. Mississippi Miss

    One small step for mankind... one GIANT step for America's quality of Health Care. If any of you think you want THIS Health Care, and if you think that it will be free and great coverage and benefit everyone and
    insure us all under the rainbow of Obama-Care. Think please.

    I remember mama...and what mama always said is:

    You can't legislate a piece of pie for everyone, when the oven is broken and the flour is full of fleas.

    September 29, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  17. Lil Jimmy

    Blame the republicans. Oh wait. The vote would have passed if the democrats supported it. hmmm.

    September 29, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  18. Chris D.

    Okay fine.....Pass this bill out of this committe, and let's get some reform to the electorate, and this industry.

    September 29, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  19. Larry

    "We The People" get it ...

    Anything in the bill that might actually help a lot of Americans out here, simply won't due in your white washed bill

    What a disgusting bunch you are, you who have a great health care plan provided by "We The People"


    September 29, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  20. MCD, SF, CA

    This is rediculous! There is absolutely no reason for a democratic to vote against a public option unless.....

    Apparently, Big Health Insurance companies rate higher than the People of this Country.

    Polls, again and again have shown that about 70% of the American people WANT a public option.

    The Reps may be able to get money from the lobbyists of the big companies, but not enough to get the votes of the people they have betrayed.

    September 29, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  21. susanspics

    Baucus, Nelson, Lincoln, Conrad, Carper = pathetic cowards. Vote them out next cycle for someone truly looking out for public interest, not corporate interest.

    September 29, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  22. Mike Kaplan

    What happens if the Finance Committee doesn't pass their version of the bill?

    September 29, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  23. Terry, Butte, MT

    I already emailed Baucus and am extremely disappointed in him.

    After all the Democratic Central Committees in Montana signed resolutions supporting at least the public option then handed them to him personally, and after polls have shown that a majority of Montanans and Americans support at least the public option, and after years of him enjoying a publicly funded health care system, he votes against the interest of Montanans and Americans.

    At this point I think we should impeach Baucus for bribery from the insurance industry and failing to represent Montanans, and allow our good Gov. Schweitzer to select a person that will represent us.

    His argument against the public option, that he wants a meaningful bill to pass the senate, therefore he is against the public option, is pathetic at best and is counter productive since you can't have a meaningful bill without a public option.

    September 29, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  24. Mike in LR

    What does it take for these lunatic fringe leftist senators and congressmen to hear the people? Only 46% (as of yesterday) support this kind of health care reform according to Rasmussen. Stop trying to shove something we don't want down our throats. If this keeps up the independents are going to run, not walk, back to the conservatives. They're already moving that way.

    Obama is a weak narcissist only looking out for himself. He is dangerous!

    September 29, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  25. TangledThorns

    Yay for common sense. I'm glad not all Democrats are loony liberals who think government is the answer to everything.

    Too bad for Obama, boo hoo. However this is a win for Americans who will still see quality care and not government death panels.

    September 29, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
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