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Senate Finance Committee members nix public option amendments – MedCity Morning Read, Sept. 30, 2009

The Senate Finance Committee, which continues to debate health care reform legislation, rejected Tuesday two amendments that would have added a government-run health insurance plan to the bill.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate Finance Committee, which continues to debate health care reform legislation, rejected on Tuesday two amendments that would have added a government-run health insurance plan to the bill.

The first amendment, proposed by Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV, a West Virginia Democrat, was defeated in a vote of 15 to 8, The New York Times reported. Five of the votes against it came from Democrats.

Sen. Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, proposed the second amendment. This time, three Democrats voted no, bringing the vote tally to 13-10, according to the Times.

The Times said the votes “underscored divisions among Democrats and were a setback for President Obama, who has endorsed the public plan as a way to ‘keep insurance companies honest.'”

Reuters reported that Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat who voted against both amendments, said there is not enough support in the Senate to pass legislation if it includes the public option.

“I can count,” Baucus said, according to Reuters. “No one has been able to show me how they can count up to 60 votes with a public option in the bill.”

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