Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) on Thursday said healthcare reform legislation would contain a government-backed health plan even while his Republican counterparts bashed such a provision.
I think a bill that passes the Senate will have some version of a public option, Baucus, flanked by key lawmakers who are crafting a bill to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system, said after a late afternoon meeting.
Baucus, however, hinted that a public option would likely look and feel more like a private plan, adhering to open-market principles and where the governments thumb is very, very light.
Nevertheless, many Republicans say they remain unswayed in their opposition. Our caucus is very, very much against a public option, said Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the senior Republican on the Finance Committee. He also said that provisions requiring employers to pay an added tax if they dont offer health coverage to their workers are also dealbreakers. And thats all you can say, he said. There are no follow-up questions you can ask me. Theres no further statements I can make about it.
The comments were made after the main players in the Senate continued to hold a series of meetingssometimes with members of the opposite parties, sometimes not.
Baucus and Grassley were joined by Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), whos heading the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and his Republican counterpart, Sen. Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.).