On the Hill

High Noon for the Public Option

Has the public option, which seemed dead just a few weeks ago, risen from the grave? On Tuesday, Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia proposed a public-option amendment to the Senate Finance Committee, stressing that it would be optional and that it would save $50 billion over 10 years. The committee has 13 Democrats and 10 Republicans. Jill Lawrence, at Politics Daily, writes, “By my count, there are nine Democrats in favor of or open to at least one of the three public options. Two favor Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe's proposal for state-level public options to be "triggered" if competition in a state falls short. Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas is a mystery. If she ultimately supports some type of public option, that would make committee chairman Max Baucus the deciding vote. He says he supports a public option but that it couldn't win on the floor.”