Only in the United States Senate


The final vote tally in the Senate Finance Committee by which the public option, without which nothing emerging from Congress can truly be called Health Care Reform, was defeated minutes ago.

Max Baucus of Montana, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, all Democrats, voted against Senator Schumer(D-NY)'s amendment, which would have mandated fairly negotiated compensation rates, as opposed to Rockefeller's which would have utilized Medicare rates for the first two years, and was defeated 15-8, with the additional defections of Bill Nelson (Florida) and Thomas Carper (Delaware).

Of the three who voted against Schumer's amendment, only Kent Conrad comes from a state where a majority, around 57% depending on the poll, oppose the public option. In Montana it's a close 47% to 43%-- which would no doubt be moved if the Senator himself had continued to favor it as strongly in public as he did in a position paper at the beginning of the year-- in addition to an overwhelming 77% of Democrats in support. In Arkansas, 80% of Democrats and 55% of the public at large favor the public option.

With the support of two Senators whose constituents favor a government-run insurance option, we would have had real healthcare reform brought to the floor of the Senate. Without action from the Finance committee, it's looking like Harry Reid is going to leave the public option out of the reconciled bill that makes it to the floor, where it'll have to be reintroduced during markup.

Where the Democrats have conceded that it takes 60 votes to pass a bill these days, which is the reason Baucus cited for voting against the ammendment.

Despite the fact that they have a majority of Senators, a President who was elected by as near a landslide as we're likely to see from any non-incumbent in our lifetimes, and the overwhelming support of the public on their side. The only thing they don't seem to possess is the fortitude to actually make Orrin Hatch and Chuck Grassley read from their respective phone books while the nation watches in disgust. So it's looking like all we can expect from the Senate, despite some West Wing-esque twelfth hour miracle, is insurance reform.

So we're on the same page:

2008 Health Sector Donations to Democrats who Voted Against the Public Option

MAX BAUCUS (D-MT) $1,148,775.00

KENT CONRAD (D-ND) $117,350.00

BLANCHE L. LINCOLN (D-AR) $226,753.00

And the numbers for the two Senators who voted for Schumer's ammendment and not Rockefeller's.

BILL NELSON (D-FL) $60,015.00

THOMAS CARPER (D-DE) $15,450.00

Money doesn't talk. It swears.


  1. It is enough to make my head explode. I for the life of me do not know why people are so god damn

    For one we need national health care not a fucking public option, but the option is the least those Democratic useless hacks need to be fighting for.

  2. My concern with this health care reform, as an Independent, is that it’s all over the place, there are not enough specifics and it must be put into writing and as if “written in stone” so that not every illegal that comes to the US will get free healthcare and those that work hard all their citizen life in US pay for every “Tom, Dick and Harry”

  3. Cooper: You're right of course.

    But it's entirely possible that once the American people realize that the public option hasn't made dogs sleep with cats and frogs eat each other, they'll be more amenable to single payer. I mean, Massachusetts has served as a fairly effective pilot for gay marriage, and now Rhode Island is the only New England state that's come late to the party

    John Gordon: I'm not sure who you're trying to impress here, but I don't think that you're going to get customers for your vacation rental company by vomiting the same non-opinions that every fuckwit too lazy to actually read the bills in question have been spouting since day one.

    Independent? Really? Do you even know what that word means? Because there is no way to arrive at your conclusions unless you form your opinions by listening to what other people say and stalwartly refusing to check to see that it's true.

    You clearly know how to use the Internet, so it's not that you can't. Google could tell you in three seconds that the House bill and the Baucus bill both expressly forbid subsidy to illegal immigrants.


  4. http://maplight.org/map/us/legislator


    Between June 2003 and Jun 2009, Bill Nelson has received $600K+ from healthcare professionals and insurance contributions.

    In that same time, Thomas Carper has received over $500K from these groups. Here's his voting record


    He has voted down a couple drug related and health related bills, being among the small number of votes that carried the rejection of the bill. Coincidently, pharmaceuticals and insurance are among his top contributors.

    Money indeed talks.