Democratic Senators Try to Call GOP Bluff on Public Option Amendment

Posted December 4, 2009 at 2:26pm

A handful of Democratic Senators on Friday sought to sign onto a GOP amendment that would require all Senators to participate in any public insurance option that might be included in the final version of a health care reform bill. Sens. Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Chris Dodd (Conn.) and Barbara Mikulski (Md.) were clearly trying to call Republicans’ bluff after GOP Senators introduced an amendment Thursday that would require Members to join the public exchange. Republicans oppose the public insurance option and were looking to force Senators to be subject to a program that they consider to be a government takeover of health care. “Politicians should not be mandating that other Americans join a government health care program that they have no intention of joining themselves,— Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), a co-sponsor, said Thursday after dropping the amendment, whose lead sponsor is Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.). “Senator Coburn is to be commended for his commitment to the public option,— Dodd said in a statement. “We supported this amendment in the HELP Committee, we are proud to support it now, and we look forward to joining our colleagues in enrolling in the public option once we pass this legislation.— Brown took it a step further, saying “I look forward with great eagerness to join the public option as soon as it’s available.—