When it comes to health care reform, one of the biggest questions is if any legislation from Congress would include a government-run, non-profit insurer for people that do not qualify for private plans.
Harry Reid, the majoirty leader of the U.S. Senate included the public option in the Senate version of the bill, which hit the floor this week. This news came after the Senate Finance Committee approved a bill last week that did not include a government-run plan.
The bill will have to pass both branches of Congress before it can be approved, and, according to the Associated Press that could be difficult without the support of key leaders.
Many lawmakers are keeping mum on their support, including Sen. Joseph Lieberman, who told the AP that he’s worried about the cost to taxpayers of another government program. Sen. Evan Bayh and Sen. Ben Nelson, both Democrats from the Midwest haven’t pledged their support yet, either.
Even Sen. Olympia Snowe, who was the only Republican to vote with the Democrats on the health care overhaul two weeks, said that she would not support a government option.
Democrats in the House of Representatives, however, included a public option in their plan and see Harry’s decision as a coup for their cause.
"There’s a sense we got a really big boost yesterday," said Anthony Weiner, a representative from New York. "There’s a victory dance in the end zone, just about."
Anthony and others, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, currently do not have the votes for their plan, which would need over 200 to pass.
— Whitney Teal