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. Marie MD

    Most Americans want the public option. Once again our leaders are letting us down.
    As a Democrat I hope nobody in MD voted against it because I will not vote repug EVER, but I will remember who voted against it in 2009 when we have elections in 2010.

    September 29, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  2. Proud Member..Party of No

    lol.....what a loser Obama has turned out to be.

    September 29, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  3. Marie Laveaux

    Well, I knew this was going to happen and what really sickens me is that it was all done to appease the right, who are still going to not support any form of reform no matter how many concessions are made. The Baucus bill is a joke and then some. Shame on the whole spineless bunch of them, Republicans and Democrats alike, who are against doing the right thing for working class Americans.

    September 29, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  4. mike,texas

    We can spend billions killing hundreds of thousands innocent women and children,but we cant have national heathcare for all americans.Its obvious without campaign reform nothing will change as the wealth of this nation shifts endlessly to the top 1 percent.Aristocracy here we come.

    September 29, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  5. Bedtime for Obonzo

    Where are you Dems getting these crazy numbers for the percentage of Americans that support a public option? I haven't seen any reputable numbers that come close.

    September 29, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  6. LacrosseMom

    45, 000 AMERICANS DIE EVERY YEAR from lack of healthcare!

    IF 45, 000 Americans died every year from terrorists attacks, you can bet that the GOP would be demanding something be done! Like nuking the Middle-East!


    We NEED a Public Option, so that Big Pharma & Big Insurance are forced to COMPETE WHICH IS WHAT .....CAPITALISM ...... IS ALL ABOUT! COMPETITION!

    (Excuse the yelling,someone has to speak up!)

    September 29, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  7. Disgusted

    Republican – Christian? These two words should never be put or associated in the same sentence. Republicans are hypocrites who attend church, donate to the plate, and smugly believe they will buy their way into Heaven. What a joke and a travesty to the American people.

    Poor people, homeless people, down on their luck people, enemployed people. Republicans say "tough, let them eat cake!"

    September 29, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  8. Joe of Nebraska

    I would like to personally thank you Ben Nelson Senator of Nebraska for helping to defeat the bloated gov't public option. It's great that you heard the constituents of your state calling for fiscal responsibility in Washington. Keep up the good work in reigning in ignorant government spending and control.

    September 29, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  9. Michelle, San Francisco

    it is clear to me that they only listen to their ultra-conservative, uneducated, stuck in time constituents. When you call this public health care reform 'socialist' or 'communist' and comparing it (and Obama) to Hitler and the devil – well what can you say but: what a bunch of ignorants. And these are the ones our senator is listening to.

    September 29, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  10. Adalbert

    It looks like that those with the money win again as usual and we, the average American loose.
    Nothing will change in this country until the special interest's money is removed from the political elections. We the people must unite to take our democracy back.

    September 29, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |

    They do not care about us.

    September 29, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  12. Billy J ..Texas..

    I will give to the Baucus primary challenger, and his Republican opponent. If the Republicans want to get a senate seat, they might try for Baucus, because he has a huge target on his back now. BELIEVE IT. I am going to go broke as a wage slave in this country anyway, I might as well take out the politicians who helped ruin my chances at the American dream ,or achieving real middle class status, on my way out.

    Vote them out, and keep voting them out, till they get it.

    September 29, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  13. Rob in Detroit Mi.

    I guess they didnot like what i said so let me tone it down a bit kick out SEnatores, Baucus,Lincoln,Nelson,conrad,and Carper. they all belong to the Insurance companies.

    September 29, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  14. Buster

    No government run healthcare-–GOOD. If Obama cared about it, he would have tort reform AND interstate competition. Obama just wants more POWER.

    September 29, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  15. Peter

    Its a shame to see these same people people opposing to help the poor coming out of church every sunday holding leather covered bibles under their arm pits!. . How comes America gives too much to the rest of the world! and yet we can't help the down trodden in our backyards? is it purely based on taxes or goodwill? because with the issues of the health care its pathetic to be # 37 in the world!!. Health care is not about democrates and republicans it concerns the entire Nation. Radio host shows makes million od dollars in a year and they can afford any medical bills how about you ? the common folk duped by the radio host shows and lobbyist about death panels and other scare tactics. You are the looser, when you go to bed sick the only people who will care about is only your family the rest will be gone! time to tell the senate to start working for you not for the special interest groups!

    September 29, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  16. Angie in PA

    we the people must UNITE AND GET THE LOBBYING OUT OF DC


    September 29, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  17. steuart liebig

    this just proves that the insurance companies and their deep pockets are more powerful than the president and congress, and more important than some 70% of 300 millions citizens.

    September 29, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  18. Dan

    Wow, we seem to have a bunch of 'crazies' weighing in on the decision not to back this health care reform. Nobody knows the stakes or the impact, but there seem to be a lot of people who think they should be 'entitled' to free public health.

    Not well thought throug and way too costly–what happened to incremental change or is that simply not something Obama can hang his hat on so he gets elected again? Thank heaven for reason! Thank heaven for Baucus and all who voted against this stupid proposal.

    September 29, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  19. jules sand-perkins

    A comment yesterday quoted a United Nations document to support each person's "right to health care."
    That is the best news of all: if the "right" comes from the United Nations, the U.N. can pay for it!
    It won't cost USA taxpayers a penny.

    September 29, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  20. John

    Good get rid of the public option. My employer has laready said that if a public option becomes available he will cancel our health care and we will have to get it on our own.

    September 29, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  21. RO

    This is really sad... here we have been trying to reform health care for the past 50 + years.. The public wants public option and the public wants health care reform. What is up? All we have to do is to look at the 36 countries whose health care is better than ours and go from there. Sheesh! Yes, for those who are ignorant..we rank 37th in the industrialized countries...even Canada is ranked higher than us! They are 30th. WE NEED THIS!

    September 29, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  22. victim of republican greed

    Max made us wait two months for his committee to do nothing. What a tulip.

    September 29, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  23. zachB

    To all the people clamoring for tort reform, realize that "outrageous" payouts for losses or settlements in court account for one half of one percent of all private health spending. Lessening that figure would'nt amount to anything tangible. On top of that, there have already been vigorous tort reform laws passed in places like Texas, Florida, and Missouri, where I live. Anyone can see that policy prices have only gone up since those laws hit the books, meaning that tort reform is akin to trying to put out a fire with a squirt gun, it's just not effective.

    September 29, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  24. RJ- GA.

    Max Baucus is an example of why people hate the Democrats, he sold out the public option from word one. Kent Conrad is another member of this Mickey Mouse club !!!

    September 29, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  25. Rick in OP

    If you are really interested in health care reform the first step has to be tort reform.

    Will someone please tell that person that who posts regularly on the Political Ticker that THEODORE ROOSEVELT WAS A REPUBLICAN.

    September 29, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
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