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September 29th, 2009
07:12 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Health Care Battle on Capitol Hill

Sen. Max Baucus said the public option provision would 'hold back meaningful reform this year'.
Sen. Max Baucus said the public option provision would 'hold back meaningful reform this year'.

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Today on Capitol Hill a showdown took place on health care reform and your future. The battle was over whether there should be a so-called public option or a government-run health insurance plan. Liberal Democrats lost the fight today, twice, in the Senate Finance Committee - but they're not giving up.

This isn't just a battle across party lines. We're seeing Democrats battle Democrats. The committee's chairman, Democratic Senator Max Baucus voted against the public option. He said there's no way it could beat a filibuster in the Senate.

But public option supporter Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) cited data from the non-partisan Congressional Budge Office that says the provision would save the government $50 billion. His push failed in a 15-8 vote.

Then Sen. Chuck Schumer made his case. He also lost, though by a closer margin of 13 to 10.

"If today were the last battle we'd come close and we'd have lost. But today's the first battle and we are really feeling good. You heard the tone of the debate. All the momentum is on our side," Schumer said.

But most Republicans feel a public option means the government will eventually take over your health care choices.

"I can tell you right now it would be a disaster. And what's worse the American people would lose an awful lot of control over their own health care needs," Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch said.

We'll be digging deeper on the debate. Share your thoughts below.

Tonight we'll also have the latest Academy Award-winning director Roman Polanski’s arrest in Switzerland on child sex charges here in the U.S. He's still vowing to fight extradition and now he's got some big name support from Hollywood. Martin Scorsese and Woody Allen are among 138 people in the film industry who've signed a petition to demand Polanski's immediate release. That's tonight's crime and punishment report.

And, keeping them honest, we uncover a job scam that targets out of work executives desperate for a job. Drew Griffin shows us how several people became victims of a job recruiting firm.

Join us for these stories and much more starting at 10pm ET. See you then!


Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Jim

    As a healthcare administrator I whole heartedly believe that without a public option any true healthcare reform will be incomplete. The private insurance companies answer to wall street, shareholders, and in some not for profit cases board of directors. The agendas of the Insurance companies is profit. It is important that we compare the Insurance companies to the banking industry where greed rules. Approximately 1/3 of Americans are already enrolled in a "public Option" called Medicare and Medicaid. WE NEED A PUBLIC OPTION. Wake up Senators!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 29, 2009 at 10:13 pm |
  2. Emmanuel Ayemhenre

    With all due respect, Michael Moore is absolutely right. Any Democrat that doesn't support Public Run option will definitely vote-out because people went to Poll to vote for this change November Last year.

    September 29, 2009 at 10:13 pm |
  3. michael kelly

    Michael Moore has become the voice of mainstream America,he is the only one trying to keep the politicans honest including Obama who has been a huge disappointment by his lack of assertive leadership so far.

    September 29, 2009 at 10:12 pm |
  4. Woody in Tennessee

    I don't know if they realize it or not, but there is already a public option. It is called Medicaid. Anyone with a Medicaid card (TennCare in Tennessee) can go to any hospital or medical clinic and get help. Many private physicians accept Medicaid payments. There are lots of people without health insurance due to loss of jobs, inability to pay high premiums, etc. Why not simply expand Medicaid eligibility to include these people rather than tear apart a good health care system that works?

    September 29, 2009 at 10:12 pm |
  5. Bridgette Bedi

    This defeat illustrates again the arrogance of our legislators. I am appalled that millions of Americans are forced go with out access to healthcare, while the insurance industry laughs all the way to the bank.

    September 29, 2009 at 10:12 pm |
  6. Tom Richardson

    As usual it looks like special interest money wins over the needs American taxpayer. We NEED a reform on political contributions by special interest.

    September 29, 2009 at 10:12 pm |
  7. marlyn

    WE NEED THE PUBLIC OPTION
    NOTHING WILL CHANGE WITHOUT IT

    September 29, 2009 at 10:10 pm |
  8. Stan, Canada

    When people buy from the bulk food store, they get a better deal. When There are 500 different permutations of cereal, vs. 10 they get less of a deal because each individual type of cereal is bough in fewer numbers, and raising the price per unit. Variety may be the spice of life, but it's also way lines the pocket books of any business selling anything to anyone.

    This health care debate over a public option, comes down to various politicians from both sides of the aisle, not wanting to interfere with business being able to make profits, since making money, more money each consecutive fiscal quarter seems to be the one and only goal of a publicly traded company, such as insurance companies. If there's a not-for-profit option out there for Americans, the "for-every-increasing-profit" insurance companies will more than likely have to scale back something to maintain the profits for their share holders or risk their stock price plummeting.

    This issue of needing to maintain increasing profits each fiscal quarter or year to share holders, leads me to believe the days of creating cures for disease are over... Why sell a cure when you can sell "managing the disease", keep them sick for a lifetime and you insure a customer base. Depressing but I fear realistic. Just like Detroit can't afford to make a car that will last 100 years, the pharmaceutical and insurance industries can't afford to have a healthy population.

    The problem is that the government and the people can't afford to maintain being sick for their lifespan. Who runs Washington, drug and insurance companies or the voters? You know the answer.

    September 29, 2009 at 10:00 pm |
  9. kp

    Are the GOP and the "Conserva-dems" so determined to keep Americans on their knees to bloated corporate greed that they can no longer honor free and open competition in the health care market? They have been so thoroughly bribed by the insurance industry that they can't begin to think about Americans who so desparately need options and protections. It's as though those members of congress have become agents of insurance company interests rather than reps of the people of the citizens. How can they abandon the families of America this way? Don't these Senators realize that they ARE the government? A public option is a plan of the people, by the people, and for the people. To these these congressional insurance company puppets – get out of the way of our future!! Let us catch up with the rest of the free world and at least have the CHOICE of a public option. If the insurance companies are so afraid of it – it MUST be the right thing to do!!

    September 29, 2009 at 10:00 pm |
  10. Jayson

    If there was a true desire for competition then we would have a single federal mandated level for minimum health insurance coverage and competion across state lines. Of course with any luck we will never see either one of these since the Democratic party seems to be more concerned with creating a new bureacratic organization and continuing to make false claims that the Republican party isn't offering any new ideas to fix the current problems with the system....

    September 29, 2009 at 9:57 pm |
  11. Chaney,Sarepta, La

    I dont think we the people are getting just representation.. One only has to look at how much money is being spent on defeating reform , and how much money these members of Congress are receiving in campaign contributions from same healthcare industry.....and make the deduction that we have legislation for sale.....to the highest bidder and folks that aint we the people......

    September 29, 2009 at 9:57 pm |
  12. Richard Elliott

    I believe that if the Dems are insistent on pushing the Public Option, they should add that if patients don't have their own insurance, they should be organ donors in the event of untimely death during hospitalization.
    This measure would significantly increase the supply of much needed organs and preserve quality of life, while tremendously shortening the waiting period for organs.
    Recycling organs creates the needed supply for a insatiable demand for much needed organs.
    This could go a long way to offset the staggering cost of the Public Option and even without the Public Option this is a very viable option to fill a great medical demand without increasing cost of healthcare or increasing taxes.

    September 29, 2009 at 9:56 pm |
  13. Dave

    The public option as framed currently will take away all choice from americans and most certainly lead to a single payer goverment controlled system. rokefeller and Schumer are out of touch with reality and do not deserve to be in the senate. congratulations to Buacus and moderate democrats for paying attention to what the americans want.

    September 29, 2009 at 9:55 pm |
  14. Ron

    The liberal left seems to want what they want, damned public opinion. But it's not going to happen.

    September 29, 2009 at 9:54 pm |
  15. Isabel Siaba, Brazil

    Hello Maureen!

    Today I heard something about what is theoretically possible but very unlikely, that Polanski is released with bail. Bail?

    Frankly I find this very confusing story. It took more than 30 years and only now this history came to light. Why?

    Big names in Hollywood are supporting the Roman Polanski, but Polanski pleaded guilty in the past. Is there evidence of his guilt?

    This story is confusing, but very intriguing!

    See you later!

    September 29, 2009 at 9:52 pm |
  16. Victor Esteves

    You'd think Democrats in Congress would support what the majority of Americans want. We need to stop the fights and just push for whats best for the citizens and no huge money making corporations.

    September 29, 2009 at 9:35 pm |
  17. Annie Kate

    A public or government sponsored health care plan does not seem to have taken away the choices of people in France, Britain, or Canada on their health care; why would it here? The bill can be constructed so this would not happen; so what is there to fear on this score – that they won't have the willpower to amend the bill later if some provision is not working the way they want it to? I don't think with anything this big that we are going to get it completely right on the first try; but something is better than nothing.

    September 29, 2009 at 9:22 pm |
  18. Enough

    Give up, the MAJORITY of Americans oppose this crappy plan. Start over with real reform, not government control.

    September 29, 2009 at 9:16 pm |