The First Draft: Public option, Afghan policy under scrutiny

September 29, 2009

Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee face off Tuesday over whether an overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system should include an optional government-run health insurance plan.

The panel, which is debating changes to Chairman Max Baucus’s healthcare reform bill, is dealing with amendments about the public option Tuesday.

USA/The public insurance option has become a hot button issue. Many Democrats, including President Barack Obama, say it is needed to make sure there is enough competition to drive down prices.

Most Republicans strongly oppose a government-run plan, fearing it will have an unfair competitive advantage that will drive private insurers out of the marketplace.

Baucus, seeking to craft a bill that could win bipartisan support, left the public option out of his healthcare bill. Instead, he proposed creating private healthcare cooperatives as an means of ensuring competition with insurance companies.

Groups on both sides have been airing advertisements, targeting Baucus, insurance companies and others.

A tracking poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation Tuesday found that public support for health reform rose in September after declining during the summer. The poll found 57 percent believe reform is more important than ever.

It found 59 percent favored a public option.

A public option would directly affect only a small portion of the population. Most Americans would continue to get their health insurance through their employers.

Those who don’t have insurance through their employer would be entitled to purchase insurance through a government-run exchange that would offer private insurance polices and, possibly, either a public or cooperative option.

Other healthcare reform bills passed out of congressional committees have included a public option. Baucus’s bill is the last one still in committee, much delayed by efforts to craft the sort of bipartisan measure Obama supports.

Obama says healthcare is his top domestic priority. He’ll be keeping an eye on it from the White House Tuesday, but the main issue on his agenda for the day is Afghanistan.

Obama is due to meet NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and U.S. officials throughout the day as he considers a proposed strategy shift that could require the deployment of thousands more troops to Afghanistan.

For more Reuters political news, click here.

Photo credit: Reuters/Yuri Gripas (Baucus talks to reporters Sept. 15)

6 comments

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Difficult affair

Everyone agrees that there has to be a fresh new look at the limitations with health care.But if everybody is covered ,every body has to pay ,no exceptions.Unfortunately the Obama election promises have created an entitlement frenzy where people believe it will all be free because the filthy rich will have to pay for it,or the government will pay for it. When you start mentioning that young people will have thousands of dollars deducted from their wages their enthusiasm seems to wane ,i don,t think they are fully aware of this prospect.They talk about the free health care in England,you pay for it in every pay check.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

Brian, we pay for health care out of every pay check now. Also out of every paycheck comes the cost of covering the uninsured. The cost of having people show up at the ER with no coverage is passed on to those of who are covered. I’m not in favor of free coverage for people who can pay in to a public option, I think it should be a sliding scale based on income. There are millions who can’t afford a private policy and are not offered cheaper coverage by an employer. This is why I’ve been in favor of government backed, but not administered, regional co ops all along. Thoughts?

Posted by Eric H | Report as abusive

Two areas to debate Eric, we wear the story about the 600 dollar hammer that was invoiced and payed by the government.This the dread of many who know the reality of government efficiency.Also i was finalized yesterday that in all the proposed bills, abortions will be paid by tax payer money.As a christian i want none of my money funding abortions FULL STOP.Planed parenthood is a an abortion business not a service they are like acorn they have been court out many times,one instance a person phoned and agreed to donate a sizable amount of money if it would only be used on black babies and PP accepted.There are many instances were pregnant girls have gone to them confused and were almost forced to abort their babies.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

I hate to tell you this Brian but it is up to you or any other christian group to decide whether or not abortion is wrong. We all were given free will to decide for ourselves and in the end it is up to God to look at each persons life and be the judge, right? “Judge not lest you be judged”, sound familiar? I understand how you feel but their are millions who don’t agree with you, casting judgment on them is a very un-Christlike thing to do. Live your life and let others live theirs as they see fit. Wasn’t that the message of Christ?
As for Planned Parenthood, I don’t where you get your info but I’ve known people who work for PP (a doctor and a counselor) and that is not the way things happen. If your info comes from the pro-life movement you might want to consider that it may be biased. Nobody is pro abortion, nobody wants to go through that, but sometimes it is a choice that people must make. You should try to respect others believes and stop trying to force yours on them, I think Christ had something to say about that as well. So preach all you want, try to educate people to your views but forcing them to do it is not the true Christian way.
On the subject of Christianity, the bible and it contents didn’t really come into existence until the Council Of Rome in 382 AD(?) When the books, profits and message of the bible were voted on by the church hierarchy. Since then the bible has been edited, rewritten and translated so many times that saying that the modern versions (and there are many) is the true word of God and contains the true teachings of Jesus is at the very least a stretch. Sorry but the history is there for all to read and you should before you devote your life to a book that has been manipulated by men to serve their own purposes and designs.

Posted by Eric H | Report as abusive

eric h thanks for the advice,like you this is MY opinion,and incidentally thanks for the stretching,God bless.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive