Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) took to the Senate floor Tuesday to make a forceful case for a government-run insurance option as a part of health care reform, saying Americans dont feel they have affordable choices.
Republicans are almost unanimously opposed to the concept, and even a significant number of Democrats have expressed concern.
Schumer, the vice chairman of the Senate Democratic Conference and a member of the Finance Committee, has remained a strong advocate for a public plan throughout the health care debate. Armed with a recent New York Times poll showing that most Americans favor a government-run insurance option, Schumer urged his colleagues to support the measure.
Do you know why so many Americans want a public plan? Schumer asked. They dont feel they have affordable choices.
We want to ensure all Americans have an affordable choice for health insurance, Schumer added. And right now, many of them dont.
Whether the Finance Committee will pass a bill with a robust government-run insurance option remains unclear, given Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) commitment to drafting a bill that can garner significant GOP support. But the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, drafting its own bill that is then set to be merged with the Finance legislation, is almost certain to approve a bill with a public plan that is satisfactory to many Democrats.
The HELP Committee is in the midst of marking up its bill; Finance is set to begin marking up its bill following the July Fourth recess. President Barack Obama has demanded that Congress send him a health care reform bill no later than Oct. 15.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.