The 15 to 8 vote against the Rockefeller amendment to provide a healthcare public option titled a “Community Choice Health Plan” brought about its defeat in the Senate finance committee on Tuesday. The brainchild of Democrat Senator John D Rockefeller IV of West Virginia, any chance of his plan passing was crushed by five dissenting Democrat Senators who cast their lot with all ten Republican members of the Senate Finance Committee.
The Recalcitrant 5
The offending Democrat Senators were Baucus of Montana, Carper of Delaware, Conrad of North Dakota, Lincoln of Arkansas, and Nelson of Florida. There can be no valid excuse for voting against a public option plan which offers the opportunity to deliver affordable healthcare to approx 46 million uninsured Americans. Especially a proposal designed to ensure real competition in the marketplace to force down the healthcare costs of insurance for all Americans.
The President Must Act
President Obama needs to have a serious talk with these five Democrats. To achieve his goals he must seize the day to state clearly and publicly on national television, his unequivocal support for a government managed non profit public option to deliver affordable healthcare insurance. John D Rockefeller IV and Chuck Schumer have done very creditible lead up work. Now is the time for the President to state his mind categorically on the critical issue of a Public Option and demand that Democrats get on with passing it in the Senate.
His second term and the country’s prospects, post the election of 2012, could well be determined by the success or failure of his leadership on this issue. Republicans know this. But not apparently, the five Democrats guilty of playing Russian Roulette with their election chances and the well being of all Americans .
An Uncaring and Selfish Decision
This disgraceful quintette with its likely externally financed decision to vote against a Public Option signals a zero appreciation of the vital importance of providing fellow Americans with universal healthcare insurability with an undoubted capacity to positively impact on the productivity, quality of life and future happiness of all Americans.
Democrats must unite on this issue, or risk seeing the election of another madcap Republican President in 2012.