WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate Finance Committee has voted against
creating a new government health insurance plan to compete with the
The 15-to-8 vote could forecast the fate of the public option in the Senate as a whole. The outcome was expected but still a defeat for liberals who view government-sponsored insurance for the middle class as a key component of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.
Five committee Democrats, including Chairman Max Baucus, joined with all 10 committee Republicans to defeat the measure by Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia.
Opponents said a public option would drive private insurers out of business and amount to a government takeover. Proponents said it would give consumers choice and competition.
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