If Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wants to get the 60 votes he will need to break a Republican filibuster and pass a health care reform bill, he’s going to have to include a robust public insurance option.
Without that basic protection for consumers and taxpayers, Reid will lose the vote of Vermont Independent Bernie Sanders, who caucuses with the Democrats but has made no secret of his frustration with attempts to dumb down reform.
“I strongly suspect that there are number of senators, including myself, who would not support final passage without a strong public option,” says Sanders, who supports development of a single-payer “Medicare for All” system but has indicated he would accept a milder reform if it controls against insurance-industry profiteering.
“The American people want a public option that would compete against the private insurance companies, whose only goal in life is to make as much money as possible,” says Sanders. “If we do nothing, the dollars we spend on health care will nearly double in the next eight years.”
Sanders has not gotten as much attention as conservative Democrats who have grumbled about Congress doing “too much.”
Bernie is right. Without a public insurance option the effort to reform the system of health insurance in this country will fail to achieve what is needed. Without this key provision, there will be no incentive to reduce costs. Withour competition the health insurance industry will continue business as usual, butwith the plus of an additional 40 millon customers forces to pay what ever they want to charge. Bernie Sanders is not the only progressive in the Senate who will not support reform without this provision. Without that support, Reid won’t even get to 51 votes, much less 60.
Read the rest of John Nichols post Sanders Stands on Principle: No Reform w/out Public Option.