Policy-ish

A Swing And A Miss On Public Option

The Senate Finance Committee is not going to include a new government-run insurance option in its health-care bill. No way, no how.

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There's always tomorrow, senator. iStockphoto.com hide caption

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Despite the big bats of Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), each of whom took a crack at tacking on the so-called public option, they both struck out today as the committee entered its second week of debate on a health overhaul bill.

The count: 15-8 in Rockefeller's case, 13-10 in Schumer's slightly watered-down version.

"We are going to get at this, and at this, and at this, until we succeed, because we believe in it so strongly," Schumer said when he offered his amendment.

Rockefeller and Schumer say the public option is the best way to offer affordable insurance to people who don't have it, but Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, the panel's top Republican, argued that, "over time the government plan will be the only viable option for most Americans," and that will lead to "rationing or delay of care."

But public option supporters need not throw their caps to the ground and stomp on them just yet. There's still a public option in the House bill, and the Senate will likely take another crack when the bill reaches the floor, whenever that is.

The question is, will it still be a viable option by then?

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