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. Chuck, Tennessee

    Why are so many on here blaming the Repubs? The Dems have the votes to do ANYTHING they want. Obviously, not enough want the public option.

    September 29, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  2. Peoples Voice

    Bacus you are a $4 million prostitute. You will pay with your political career.

    But then, what do you care. You got your money.

    September 29, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  3. Dave

    They are starting to listen to what the PEOPLE want:
    NO government run health care.
    NO more bailouts.
    NO more spending and higher deficits.

    Basically: less government intervention and fiscal responsibility and accountability.

    Vote for true fiscal conservatives.


    September 29, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  4. Butch/Good News, MA

    Shame on you Baucus. You actually listened to your consituents and voted how they wanted you to. How can you live with yourself? The people are starting to be heard. It's about time. Public support of Healthcare refrom is now just 42%...2 points down from last week and it's lowest level this year.

    September 29, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  5. Retired US Army Officer-Kansas

    And just which insurance company will provide afforadable competative plans for the unemployed and those that can not find or afford health insurance.? Lets see it put up or shut up. Private sector can do it better, the proofs in the making, lets see it.

    September 29, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  6. Mike Syracuse, NY

    Funny how CNN made sure to report the names of the Democratic senators who voted against the public option, but didn't bother reporting the 7 Democratic senators who voted to keep funding ACORN.

    September 29, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  7. 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.

    Is this the change you can believe in?

    September 29, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  8. Sherry in Kentucky

    ALL OF THE BLUE DOGS should be voted OUT! I will donate to the campaigns of the primary challengers!!!!!!

    September 29, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  9. Havoc

    Very sad indeed!

    September 29, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  10. Jeff in Virginia

    I am disgusted. Thanks Baucus and Conrad for giving America the finger.

    September 29, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  11. ThinkAgain

    I think the CEO of every single company in this country – large and small – should have to declare their political party affiliation.

    And for all the GOP CEOs, a new rule: From now on, you get absolutely NOTHING from the local, state and federal governments.

    And to all those Wall Street companies who were bailed out because their incredibly irresponsible, greedy decisions, I want that money back NOW! And you'll never get another dime.

    September 29, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  12. Greg in MO

    Why do you liberals believe there can be no reform without the pubic option? I know you can narrow-minded when it comes to race and religion, you can also be short-sighted when it comes to planning and, you can be forgetful when it comes to history but, come-on, there can be other options than what Obama suggests. As a matter of fact, judging from what's happening in Chicago, I think it would be wise to stop listening to Democrats all together. Their options don't seem to be the best choice.

    September 29, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  13. Jon

    good. this whole attempt to overhaul the healthcare system has turned into a debacle. what's wrong with taking a slower approach and/or implementing smaller steps, such as allowing companies to sell policies across state lines?

    September 29, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  14. ThinkAgain

    What's with all the GOP senators not believing in free market capitalism? What's wrong with offering consumers a choice?

    And given how irresponsibly private insurance companies have been run, they obviously need a little competition to get back on track.

    I'm tired of the wealthy running the show – this is a democracy, dammit!

    September 29, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  15. will

    So, huge campaign contributions form the health care industry and the insurance industry to our elected officials are more important then the healthiness of every person that are citizens in the U.S.A. Now, that is food for thought.

    September 29, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  16. Born reformer

    Lets target every NAY voter and vote the traitor out of office. It obvious these NAY voters are merely big business bought off lackeys and of no use to the American public!

    September 29, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  17. JM Canada

    A public option exists in every other country of the developed world. It is favored by physicians not only in Canada, but also in the US, and by the public as well. Public health care is the most cherished government program in Canada.

    What on earth is fuelling opposition to an option that is financially responsible and ethically compelling?

    As a physician who frequently speaks at scientific meetings, it is expected that I will declare any conflicts of interest that might influence the content of my talk. It is even more important that these conflicts be declared for those who are making such important decisions that affect the lives of American people. Who on this committee has received campaign contributions from private insurers?

    September 29, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  18. scott in atlanta

    Instead of a "submit comment" button on this blog, I wish there was a "give Baucus the finger" button instead.

    September 29, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  19. ThinkAgain

    So WHAT if the government ends up running health care?

    Not that I think that will ever happen – it's just another scare tactic used by the Republicans to keep the uneducated, easily fooled sheep in line.

    If private industry was so good at running things, then:

    – Why did we just have to bail out Wall Street?

    – Why did American car companies go under?

    – Why did everyone at Enron lose their shirts?

    – Why did the S&L's in the 90s need to be bailed out?

    September 29, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  20. Kim-SC

    Subsidies for those who can not afford insurance and making it illegal to deny health coverage for pre-existing conditions is reform.

    For those of you wanting the Goverment ie tax payers to give you a free ride get over it.

    September 29, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  21. Catty

    "there is no real reform without the public option."

    You sound like a bunch of Obama parrots...he spews a line and you fall for it. According to the dems, our government can even run a war, what makes you people think they should be trusted with your healthcare!!!Our current entitlement programs are flowndering (in case you haven't noticed, social security is projected to go bankrupt by 2027), but LET'S START ANOTHER ONE AT THE EXPENSE OF THE AMERICAN TAXPAYER!!!

    You want to talk about real reform...let's start talking about tort reform!

    September 29, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  22. Mark in CA

    The subsidies should go directly to the low income individual who is buying the insurance and not the insurance companies. Rockefeller is correct that the insurance companies will just raise their premiums to suck up as much of the taxpayer gravy they can get their hands on. Why not subsidize the cooperatives instead so they can compete on equal ground with the massive insurance companies and create a national insurance marketplace with no borders so that everyone must compete for your business with better savings and coverages. Isn't that what Capitalism is all about, an open market?

    September 29, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  23. Reformed Republican

    Lemme see –
    No public health insurance option but a MANDATE that every man, woman and child in the US get health insurance or pay a $1,900 fine?

    That's tyranny folks, plain and simple.

    In 5-years, oreeven sooner, the average working class family will not have health insurance and our employers will not be able to afford to give it to us as a job perk.

    So much for those "feedom loving" rethuglicons that big insurance has bought and paid for "doing what's best for America.". The tax credit that we're supposed to get to help pay for insurance is just a GOP give-away of our tax dollars to big health insurance. Now that's gonna bankrupt us for sure.

    By the way, look up "Remote Area Medical" – you're gonna need it soon.

    September 29, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  24. Sam Sixpack

    So what if they're stealing grandma's Medicare, the Olympics are headed to Chicago!


    September 29, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  25. Mario, mtl, ca.

    Nothing new from Baucus , His ears are for the insurance ceo, and their money, to him

    September 29, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
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