The Dems have a deathwish...
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|Wed, 02-17-2010 - 11:29pm|
Won't these people ever learn?
Democrats Trying To Revive Health Care 'Public Option'
Ten Democratic senators, led by Colorado newcomer Michael Bennet, are asking Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to include a government-run insurance plan, or public option, in the package that Reid is negotiating with House leaders and the White House to present at the bipartisan health care summit planned for next week.
"Put simply, including a strong public option is one of the best, most fiscally responsible ways to reform our health insurance system," the senators wrote.
In addition to Bennet, the letter was signed by Sens. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, former presidential nominee John Kerry of Massachusetts, Rolland Burris of Illinois, Vermont independent Bernie Sanders, and Rhode Island's two senators, Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse.
Although the House passed its health care reform bill with a public option in November, the Senate did not include it in its version, which passed on Christmas Eve. At the time, Reid conceded that a bill with a government-run option could not garner the 60 votes necessary to get through the Senate.
Not only do the senators want the government-run option in the plan, they also urge Reid to use the procedure known as "reconciliation" to pass the bill through the Senate without a 60-vote threshold.
"There is substantial Senate precedent for using reconciliation to enact important health care policies," they wrote. "The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Medicare Advantage, and the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA), which actually contains the term 'reconciliation' in its title, were all enacted under reconciliation."
The coalition backing Bennet includes the Senate's most liberal members, like Burris and Sanders, along with more moderate senators like Gillibrand who, like Bennet, could face a serious Democratic primary challenge later this year.
Bennet has not had a high-profile role on many issues since being appointed in 2009, but did make headlines in November when he told CNN's John King he would risk losing his seat to pass health care reform. In an interview on "State of the Union," King asked, "If you get to the final point and you are a critical vote for health care reform and every piece of evidence tells you if you support the bill you will lose your job, would you cast the vote and lose your job?" Bennet's answer: "Yes."
Edited 2/18/2010 12:08 am ET by gouvernor.morris