Dodd Reiterates Support for Public Plan
Still recovering from prostate cancer surgery, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) just shot out a statement reaffirming the importance of the public insurance option to the Democrats’ health reform legislation. Dodd had stepped in to replace the ailing Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) as head of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee during the July markup of the panel’s reform proposal.
The Senate HELP Committee has passed a uniquely American bill, one that cuts costs, protects patient choice, and guarantees every citizen access to affordable, quality health care. It also includes a strong public option that has earned the support of moderates in both the House and the Senate.
That is significant and undeniable progress – but it took a lot of hard and serious work. In drafting the bill, we considered hundreds of ideas, accepting 161 Republican amendments over the course of the most thorough markup in committee history.
Although President Obama has said for months that he wouldn’t draw a line in the sand on the public option, comments by White House officials over the weekend inspired headlines insinuating that the administration has caved on the issue. Dodd’s statement doesn’t mention that episode, but the timing is telling.
It might not matter. Even if Democrats agree to drop the public, Republican leaders are vowing to oppose the Democrats’ reform plans for a host of other reasons.