Rockefeller Blasts ‘Rapacious’ Insurance Companies
The Senate Finance Committee this morning is taking up a much-anticipated amendment, offered by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), to create a public insurance plan to compete with private insurers on a newly formed health insurance exchange.
It likely won’t pass the committee, considering the conservative-leaning Democrats that sit on the panel. But that hasn’t stopped Rockefeller from arguing his case today in hopes of building momentum for the proposal when it hits the Senate floor. The highlights:
- The public option would be just that: an option. No one would be forced to get coverage under the public plan.
- Recent polls show that both the American public and physicians support the creation of a public plan.
- The cost to administer the public option would be much less than private insurers pay to administer their plans, leaving millions of dollars that instead could be spent to care for patients.
- And finally — and perhaps most significantly — the public option, being a nonprofit, wouldn’t have to worry about rewarding shareholders. The for-profit model, Rockefeller contended, necessarily puts profits before patients. “It’s a harsh statement,” he said, “but a true statement.”
After voting on the Rockefeller amendment, the committee will consider a second public plan amendment, sponsored by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).