Tags: us | health | care | overhaul

Democrats Seek Compromise on Public Option

Friday, 04 Dec 2009 03:21 AM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

WASHINGTON -- On the Senate floor, Democrats are debating Republicans on health care. Behind the scenes, they're debating each other.

Those closed-door discussions may be less predictable -- and more consequential -- as majority Democrats struggle to settle controversies within the party that are standing in the way of passage of President Barack Obama's sweeping health care overhaul. The most contentious of these is a proposal for the government to sell insurance in competition with private companies, an approach supported by liberals but opposed by most Democratic moderates and conservatives.

Democrats were engaged in urgent talks to settle the government insurance plan issue.

Special: Get Sarah Palin’s New Book – Incredible FREE Offer -- Click Here Now.

"Our caucus is now in the process of negotiating with ourselves because we need all 60 of us to get this done," moderate Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., said after emerging from one meeting. Senate procedures require 60 votes to overcome Republican delaying tactics designed to kill the bill.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., controls precisely 60 votes, including two independents, but Landrieu and several other centrists are uneasy about the government insurance option in the bill, even though it would be open to a relatively small number of people -- mostly the uninsured and small businesses -- and Reid included a provision that would allow states to opt out of it.

Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., along with Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska and Mark Warner of Va., are taking the lead in crafting a compromise. The idea remains a work in progress, but the three presented the outlines Thursday evening in a private meeting with about a half-dozen other moderates.

As described by Carper and Begich to reporters, the compromise would put a nonprofit insurance option in place only in states that didn't meet certain criteria for affordability and access. Instead of being controlled by the government, the plan could be run by a nonprofit board, and any initial government startup money would be repaid.

Among those in the meeting was Sen. Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut independent, who has said he would filibuster the bill if a government option was included. He left the meeting early and said his position hadn't altered.

"Generally speaking, I didn't hear anything that changes my mind," Lieberman said.

Others were more optimistic.

"I've still got some concerns, but I am certainly pleased and proud that people are willing to work on it," said Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., who faces a difficult re-election next year.

"I think that what's being attempted here is perhaps an alternative to a public option," said Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb. "If that were to be developed, then perhaps Senator Lieberman's objections would be satisfied."

After their meeting, some of the centrists met with Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and other liberals who support a government option.

Democrats also face a clash over abortion as Nelson plans to offer an amendment with strict abortion restrictions that liberals say they can't accept.

Nelson's amendment probably will fail when it comes up early next week, but he has vowed to oppose the overall bill if his abortion language isn't included. If Nelson follows through on that threat, Democrats would need all their other 59 caucus members plus one Republican to secure final passage _ making the need for a broadly acceptable compromise on the government insurance plan even more urgent.

Overall, the $1 trillion, 10-year legislation would require most Americans to purchase insurance and provide federal subsidies to lower and middle-income individuals and families to defray the cost. Insurance industry practices such as denying coverage on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions would be barred.

Freshman Democrats including Warner, Begich and Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., were making plans to leave their stamp on the bill with a package of amendments designed to enact tougher cost controls on the medical system. The measures would require Medicare to enact more pay-for-performance instead of pay-for-service measures and broaden the scope of a new independent Medicare cost-cutting board, among other things, according to an outline obtained by The Associated Press.

In floor action Thursday, the bid by the bill's critics to reverse cuts to Medicare failed 58-42.

___

Associated Press writers David Espo and Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar contributed to this report.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

California Triples Movie, TV Tax Credit

Wednesday, 27 Aug 2014 16:31 PM

California legislative leaders and Gov. Jerry Brown announced a deal on Wednesday to extend and expand California's movi . . .

Israeli Premier, Hamas Declare Victory in Gaza War

Wednesday, 27 Aug 2014 16:11 PM

Both Israel's prime minister and Hamas declared victory Wednesday in the Gaza war, though their competing claims left qu . . .

Mother Pleads to ISIS Leader for Son's Release

Wednesday, 27 Aug 2014 14:52 PM

The mother of an American journalist held captive by militant group Islamic State released a video on Wednesday appealin . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved