This is good news. The pure public option was swamped 15-8, with five Democrats voting no. A non profit system had a closer vote. From the story:
The Senate Finance Committee gaveled a nail in the coffin of government-run health insurance, with moderate Senate Democrats casting the deciding votes to reject the proposal and sending a strong signal to Democratic leaders that the “public option” will not have enough support to clear the full Senate…With Lincoln, Conrad and a cadre of other swing-state Senate Democrats poised to vote “no” on a public option, Senate leaders confront the reality that the final bill placed before the full Senate for a vote cannot include such a proposal…
Despite the defeat of the public option amendments, the nearly day-long debate in the Finance Committee chambers stirred new hope among Democrats that they could perhaps modify Schumer’s proposal to attract all 60 Democratic members…“You are moving much closer to where I think we need to get where we can have a provision that will get 60 votes on the floor,” Conrad told Schumer. Conrad, for instance, said he would back a plan that put a nonprofit in charge of a public health care option instead of the government, a model he said is used successfully in Japan and France.
If competition is what we need–and I think it is–wouldn’t it be easier to allow private companies–some of which are already non profit, like Kaiser–to sell regionally or nationally? Add in vouchers and tax credits to make it affordable. Mix in a reinsurance system such as the auto insurance assigned risk systems for people with pre-existing conditons, and we would have made substantial progress on what needs fixing.
Imagine the bureaucracy that could be avoided. But then again, avoiding the bureaucracy is not what a lot of these politicians have in mind. As I have repeatedly warned, the really bad stuff will be put in by the regulatory process, giving the “statesmen” plausible deniability.