A Strange Call From Reid to Vote on the Public Option … Later
What began as one of the most controversial issues of the months-long health care debate continues to be so: The public option — a government-backed insurance plan designed to compete with private companies — wasn’t included as part of the Democrats’ reconciliation bill, sending some liberals through the roof.
Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) attempted to appease some of the chamber’s most ardent public option supporters, vowing to hold a separate vote on the issue later this year, the Huffington Post reported today. In a letter to Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Reid said he was “very disappointed” that the Democrats didn’t have the votes to keep the provision as part of the reform bills.
“I remain committed to pursuing the public option,” Reid wrote.
While I believe that the legislation we are considering does much to provide affordable coverage to millions of Americans and curb insurance company abuses, I also believe that the public option would provide additional competition to make insurance even more affordable. As we have discussed, I will work to ensure that we are able to vote on the public option in the coming months.
Unmentioned, of course, is the tiny inconvenience that, if Democrats didn’t have the votes to pass the public option by reconciliation (which requires just a simple majority), they certainly won’t have the votes to pass it later in the year, when the filibuster will be back requiring 60 votes to pass anything.