From The Washington Post:
Two amendments considered, and defeated, Tuesday by the Senate Finance Committee both aimed to get to the same place — creating a government-sponsored alternative to private insurance — but by different routes.
The first, sponsored by Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), proposed a program that would piggyback on Medicare for the first two years as it got underway.
(Clockwise from left corner: Blanche Walmart Lincoln, Kent Co-op Conrad, Max Blue Cross Baucus, Tom Carping Carper, and Bill Lost In Space Nelson)
Some Democrats on the committee opposed the amendment over its use of Medicare rates for repayment, saying Medicare doesn’t pay well enough to keep doctors and hospitals in business.
The second “public option” amendment, sponsored by Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), sidestepped that issue, stating that reimbursement rates would be negotiated from the start. The measure was not expected to save as much as Rockefeller’s plan.
Republicans opposed the broader aims of both proposals, saying a publicly financed plan would inevitably run private insurers out of business.
Five of the panel’s 13 Democrats — Sens. Max Baucus (Mont.), Thomas R. Carper (Del.), Kent Conrad (N.D.), Blanche Lincoln (Ark.) and Bill Nelson (Fla.) — joined the Republicans in voting against Rockefeller’s plan. Baucus, Conrad and Lincoln also voted no to Schumer’s amendment.