Moments ago, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee voted on the public option amendment proposed by Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV).
Senator Ron Wyden voted Yes.
The amendment failed 8 to 15. Along with all the Republicans, the Democrats who voted No were Senators Kent Conrad (ND), Blanche Lincoln (AR), Bill Nelson (FL), Tom Carper (DE), and Max Baucus (MT).
Senator Wyden just released a statement on his official website. In full:
The legislation before us currently does not offer enough real competition to keep Americans from continuing to be abused by health insurers and held captive by large employers. Without the ability to hold insurers accountable for their costs and quality of service, without the ability to get a better deal and stop the ongoing erosion of wages, most working families will be no better off after this bill passes than they are today. While I have some concerns about using Medicare reimbursement rates for the public option, I have far deeper concerns about the current shortage of real choice and real reform in this health bill. I cast my vote for public option as a vote for choice and reform.
The public option amendment proposed by Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) failed 10 to 13. Senator Wyden again voted Yes. Senators Nelson and Carper also voted Yes.
Update: In addition to discussing here, you can give Senator Wyden your feedback on his Facebook page, where he posted the following:
Today, in the Senate Finance Committee, I voted for the Rockefeller and Schumer public option amendments. Regrettably, both of those amendments lost, but I will continue to fight for real choices for working families as the debate goes forward. We ...must offer enough real competition to keep Americans from continuing to be abused by health insurers and held captive by large employers.
Update: Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain issued the following statement (in full):
Middle Class Oregonians suffered a major set-back today because a few Senators weren't brave enough to stand up to big-insurance money. Luckily, Oregon's Senator Wyden was not among them.
Senator Wyden and the seven other Senate Finance Committee Members who stood with the vast majority of Americans, and the members of the four other committees debating health care who have already supported reform bills that include a public option, should be proud. It is unfortunate, however, that a small group of Senators were able to derail such a crucial piece of the Finance Committee's reform bill.
Middle class Oregonians need affordable health care reform. Without a public option, reform will not lower prices enough to help families afford the care they need. As the Senate considers both the Finance Committee bill, and the HELP Committee bill, we hope that Senators Wyden and Merkley, and their colleagues who have stood with middle class Americans, continue to support a public option as part of the Senate healthcare reform package.