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. We Love our President!

    Every Democrat that voted against the public option is in hot water with the people who elected them. I WANT THEIR HEADS ON A STICK!

    September 29, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  2. Sam Sixpack

    There is still plenty in this bill for you:

    after you pay all you can “afford” for a health insurance policy with a huge deductible, you can take a “vacation” to Mexico for the healthcare you can no longer afford here; and

    you will also get to see all your aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and siblings at the once-in-a-life-time family get-together to wish your grandmother good luck on her journey to the great beyond when you discover your heroes cut off grandma’s Medicare.

    This is, after all, the change you voted for.

    September 29, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  3. Julia - Native American from Idaho

    Thanks Walt Minnick and Baucus, I will do everything I can even if I have to go door-to-door in Idaho and Montana to tell people what low life traitors you are. You will not be re-elected in either state. Get out of the Democratic party

    September 29, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  4. Minnesotan

    Once again, Baucus sides with the neolithic Republicans, all of whom have received millions of dollars from the Insurance Companies and HMO's. Our system is corrupt and crooks like Baucus and Snowe (and most of the Republicans) are more interested in keeping the pipeline of money flowing into their greedy pockets than doing what a majority of Americans want. I'm sick to death of Republican lies.

    September 29, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  5. Reggie

    Sorry, Obama. Not only does the public disapprove of your plan, so do many of your own party. That ought to tell you something.

    September 29, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  6. J

    I think that we are going about this all wrong. If we want to REALLY fix this system then take out the Health Insurance Companies exception of the Sherman Anti Trust Act. I was VERY surprised to learn that all insurance sold in this country is sold my 2 companies.

    All I keep hearing is all this complaining about competition well this will definitely improve competition.

    I doubt the GOP would be against this idea...

    September 29, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  7. Max Baucus is a Republican Shill

    I hope Sen. Max Baucus looses his next election. We needed a public option and this poor excuse for a human being did everything in his power to see that it was not included.

    September 29, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  8. ELI

    I say it is time to replace Sens. Max Baucus of Montana, Blanch Lincoln of Arkansas, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, and Tom Carper of Delaware.

    What good is a Democratic majorty if these Senators will disregard a robust Public Option that a majority of American's want.

    September 29, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  9. Turnabout is Fair Play

    Baucus, Conrad, and Lincoln, consider yourselves on notice. You have just officially lost your jobs in 2010. Most ot the voting block wanted a public option to help those of us who cannot find employment but still need medical care while we look for one and you well paid, manicured, pedicured, idiots who get the best healthcare on the planet on OUR dime voted against what we the people want?? You fools are DONE.

    September 29, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  10. Turnabout is Fair Play

    Time for Pres. Obama to pull out the reconciliation override and put the public option through for us. To hell with the Resluglicans and those DINOs in the democratic party.

    September 29, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  11. Corporate stooges

    Well now we can name which senators put corporate profits above the wishes and interests of the American people.

    September 29, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  12. Jeff

    Down with Socialism, Up with Capitalism. What is with this "Hope and Change" ? The last time I checked every person of every ethnicity is free in this country, so what do we need "Hope and Change" for? Every person has the right to excel at what ever they want and be as succesful as they want to be. This whole health care reform sounds like people want free health care and want someone else to pay for it. If you want something then WORK FOR IT.

    September 29, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  13. Dave

    Kudos to Chairman Baucus and moderates for standing their ground. This increases the chances of meaningful reform passing this year.

    September 29, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  14. We Won Get Over It

    Baucus is going to loose in the next election. AND no matter what the republicans in the committee do. there WILL BE A PUBLIC OPTION.

    You can see the democrats who are not democrats...they should all be voted out. It is a shame that companies like the health and drug companies have such a hold on this great country of ours. But the people in office today do not care about the people they are supposed to serve all the want is the money. I think, until lobbying is made illegal this will continue to happen. I don't understand why the people of this country can't start a movement to have it made into law. And that way all the crooked politicans like baucus and the republicans will get kicked to the curb where they belong.

    September 29, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  15. Jon Krieger

    Obamacare will go down in flames,and Obama himself will be next!

    September 29, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  16. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Yes, a public option would be the death of private insurers. Just like public transportation has run private cars off the roads and public universities have run private universities out of business. Isn't it ironic that most of the angry protesters at townhalls are seniors? Who are on the government run Medicare system because private insurers refused to insure them. (seniors have tons of pre-existing conditions you know)

    September 29, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  17. KG, MN

    Time to donate to the opponents of the blue dogs.

    September 29, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  18. JG


    here we have a president trying GIVE everyone healthcare and it's voted against.

    i just cannot fathom how someone can rationalize this in their heads and then go out to some phony Church and say they're good americans and christians. youre pathetic

    September 29, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  19. We Won Get Over It

    So for those who posted the public option is terrible. What do they want to give the money to the insurance companies so they have no competition and can raise premiums as high as they want. So they can deny insurance to people who have a pre-existing illness. They are as dumb as they come...I hope that every single one of the people who are against public option will one day find out that they need it. Then they can come crying and whinning to their representatives because they didn't pass it.

    September 29, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  20. welches, oregon

    obviously the politicians are NOT listenting to their constitutients. WE WANT THE PUBLIC OPTION.

    All these clowns seem to care about is their corporate dollar.


    September 29, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  21. Matt

    Even Republicans (not politicians, citizens) support the public option. Learn about it.

    This proves that the Senate is simply a corporate lobby group devoid of any meaningful representation of their constituents.

    September 29, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  22. Don in Boca Raton

    What was your price Max? You sold the American people out for your own gain.

    September 29, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  23. Peter E

    Health care reform without public option is not reform. It's the status quo. Republicans won't stop whining and scaring people until the health care reform becomes an expensive bill where taxpayers pay even more money to private insurance companies. But who am I to argue with the millions upon millions of dollars of lobbying money the three trillion dollar health care industry is bribing these politicians with.

    September 29, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  24. M.D. For Reform

    Now, let's pretend that these 5 democrats did it for the people rather then their corporate masters, let's ignore the fact that their top 20 contributors are as follows:

    Max Baucus: THE BIGGEST DIRT BAG OF THEM ALL: Pharmaceuticals/Health, Health Professionals, Insurance, Lobbyists,
    Hospitals/Nursing Homes, Health Services/HMOs

    Thomas Carper: Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Amgen Inc

    Kent Conrad: Amgen Inc, Kindred Healthcare, Northwestern Mutual, Blue Cross/Blue Shield

    Blanche Lincoln: American Physical Therapy Assn, American College of Radiology, College of American Pathologists, Blue Cross/Blue Shield

    Bill Nelson: One of the few that truely voted his mind rather then being a puppet.

    September 29, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  25. Cindy

    A watered down plan is what we'll be stuck with? Sad. Shameful.

    But still... "small" steps are better than "no" steps.

    September 29, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
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