A Very Bad Sign for the Public Option

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The public option appears destined to die another death. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, perhaps its most consistent and passionate champion, doesn’t support its resurgence. Per the Huffington Post, here’s what Rockefeller had to say about passing a public option via reconciliation:

“I don’t think the timing of it is very good,” the West Virginia Democrat said on Monday. “I’m probably not going to vote for that, although I’m strongly for the public option, because I think it creates, at a time when we really need as much bipartisan[ship] … as possible. “

Rockefeller added: “I don’t think you [pursue] something like the public option, which cannot pass, will not pass. And if we get the Senate bill–both through the medical loss ratio and the national plans, which have in that, every one of them has to have one not-for-profit plan, which is sort of like a public option.”

By the time of Rockefeller’s statement, 22 Democratic senators had signed Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet’s letter urging Harry Reid to pass the provision via budget reconciliation. Rockefeller has been in the Senate since 1984; Bennet has been there less than a year.