1. It's public option day in Sen. Max Baucus' (D-MT) Finance Committee. Liberal Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-W. VA) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) are both presenting public option amendments.
Sen. Schumer's committee co-sponsor? Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA).
I've posted the text of the Schumer-Cantwell amendment below the fold. Basically it replaces the co-op language in the Baucus bill with public option language.
To read PubliCola's full coverage of Cantwell's push for a public option (and her other amendments—like one that made it into the bill last week to put a check on pharmaceutical industry profiteering) click here and ride the links.
The NYT is liveblogging the Finance Committee hearing right now.
2. Tim Eyman releaesed a Rasmussen poll this morning showing that his current initiative, I-1033 (which caps the amount of revenues the government can spend at this year's budget level) is ahead at 61 percent: 21 percent definitely favoring and 40 percent probably favoring.
3. In Cola news: The deadline to apply for our ad sales position is today at 5:30.
Also, we're looking for a graphic design/web developer genius. If you are one or if you know one, please contact Cynara Lilly at Cynara@PubliCola.net
This Morning's Morning Fizz brought to you by Washington Conservation Voters:
105 SCHUMER-CANTWELL # C2
Schumer-Cantwell Amendment #C2 to Title I, Subtitle E-
Short Title: Public Option as passed by HELP Committee
Description of Amendment:
Strike Title I, Subtitle E, Health Care Cooperatives and replace with public option proposal included in the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee:
The Secretary will establish a community health insurance option that complies with the health plan requirements established by this title and provides only the essential health benefits established in section 3103, except in States that offer additional benefits. There are no requirements that health care providers participate in the plan or that individuals join the plan. The premiums must be sufficient to cover the plan‘s cost. The Secretary shall negotiate rates for provider reimbursement. Reimbursement rates will be negotiated by the Secretary and shall not be higher than the average of all Gateway reimbursement rates. A ―Health Benefit Plan Start-up Trust Fund‖ will be created to provide loans for the initial operations of the community health insurance plan, which the plan will be required to pay back no later than 10 years after the payment is made. After the first 90 days of operation, the community health plan will be subject to a Federal solvency standard, established by the Secretary, and will be required to have a reserve fund that is at least equal to the dollar value of incurred claims. Each state will establish a State Advisory Council to provide recommendations to the Secretary on the policies and procedures of the community health insurance plan.
The Secretary shall contract with qualified nonprofit entities to administer the community health insurance plan in the same manner as Medicare program contracting. The contractor will receive a fee from the Department of Health and Human Services, which may be increased or reduced depending on the contractor‘s performance in reducing costs and providing high-quality health care and customer service. Contracts will last between 5 and 10 year-terms, at the end of which there will be a competitive bidding process for new and renewed contracts.