The Senate Finance Committee inched closer to a final version of what is expected to be a bipartisan health reform bill, signaling that a relatively new proposal to create a co-op type health plan to compete with private payers has become the favored option despite holdouts from key Democrats.
I am inclined, and I think the committee is inclined, toward it, committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said about the coverage option forged by Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.). But its got to be written in a way that accomplishes the objectives of a public option, even though its not public.
The plan, which emerged over the past week and has picked up some Republican support, has touched off debate among Democrats, including Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who drafted several public health plan proposals.
Schumer said that in order for such a plan to compete with private insurers, it would first have to be national, with a significant infusion of federal dollars and independent of the insurance industries. Were trying to bridge the gap here, Schumer said, adding that the co-op plan is still far from finalized. I dont know if we can.