Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) said Tuesday that he would not support Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) health care reform bill in its current form primarily because it lacks a public insurance option.Rockefeller is chairman of the Finance Subcommittee on Health Care and is a key liberal voice in the health care debate in the Senate. Baucus plan, which includes a nonprofit health insurance cooperative rather than a public insurance option, is expected to be formally introduced on Wednesday. Rockefeller has been at odds with Baucus over the direction of the Finance Committees health care talks for several months.I have sat beside Max Baucus for 22 years in the Finance Committee. Im probably his best friend on the committee. But I cannot agree with him on this bill, Rockefeller said during an afternoon conference call.Baucus has argued that there are not 60 Senate votes for a public insurance option. Rockefeller reserved the right to support the bill in committee should it be substantially adjusted to his liking.
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.