Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Go Get 'Em, Bill! Senate Committee Rejects "Public Option"

The Washington Post is breaking the news that the Senate Finance Committee has just rejected an amendment to the Baucus bill which would have included a "public option" recently championed by, of all people, Bill O'Reilly.

The Post reports:

The Senate Finance Committee voted down a government-run "public option" as part an overhaul of the nation's health-care system Tuesday, rejecting the first of two amendments offered by Democrats.

The panel's chairman, Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), and four other Democrats sided with Republicans in opposing a public-option amendment offered by Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.). Baucus said he voted against the politically volatile provision because he feared that a bill including it would not get the 60 votes it would need to pass on the Senate floor. The committee voted 15 to 8 to reject the amendment.

* * * *

The debate came as the committee worked for a fifth day on an overall health-care reform bill authored by Baucus. His bill, which he says would cost nearly $900 billion over 10 years, contains no public option, favoring instead a system in which nonprofit cooperatives would offer health insurance to people who could not afford private companies' plans.

Other Democrats who favor a public option argued that polls show 65 percent of Americans support including it in health-insurance reform legislation. House committees have included such an option in their proposals, and President Obama has expressed support for a public option, while also indicating that this is not the most important consideration for him and leaving the way open for cooperatives.

Rockefeller said his proposal would save about $50 billion over 10 years. He denied that it represents "some kind of government takeover," insisting that enrollment in a public plan would be strictly optional.

Charging that private insurance companies have "failed to meet their obligations" to the public, Rockefeller said the firms are "determined to protect their profits and put their customers second." A public option, he said, would act as a "counterweight" to "rapacious" health-insurance companies, helping to reduce excessive growth in the cost of premiums.

* * * *

Sen. Charles E. Grassley (Iowa), the top Republican on the committee, acknowledged "shortcomings" in the U.S. health-care system and said he was "not arguing for the status quo." But he maintained that "a government-run plan is not the answer."

Such a plan, he said, "will ultimately force private insurers out of business" and lead to "single-payer health care" in which the federal government runs health insurance and the health-care system.

"The government is not a fair competitor," he said. "It's a predator."
I find it interesting that a United States Senator thinks the Government is "a predator." Recall that when Franklin Roosevelt was attacked for proposing Social Security, he had to respond to the same demagoguery:

"[They are guilty of more than deceit,” Roosevelt went on to say of his Social Security critics. When they promote the idea that the Social Security reserves will be stolen by some future Congress, “they attack the integrity of American government itself. Those who suggest that are already aliens to the spirit of American democracy.”
I hope Bill O gives the Senate Committee majority pure Hell in the next days . . . wouldn't THAT be fun?

1 comment:

Christopher said...

Woe unto him who impugns the integrity of the American Government for such men are wicked blasphemers and deserving of eternal punishment. For lo, the government is above reproach. If anyone calls the American government a mountebank, let him be anathema.