This afternoon, Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AK) announced that she would vote for cloture on the motion to proceed but promised — at least 3 different times — to filibuster reform if it includes a public option. “I’m prepared to vote against moving to the next stage of consideration as long as a government-run public option is included,” she said. But Lincoln hasn’t always opposed a public plan. In July, Lincoln wrote in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: “Individuals should be able to choose from a range of quality health insurance plans. Options should include private plans as well as a quality, affordable public plan or non-profit plan that can accomplish the same goals as those of a public plan.”
In fact, that language is still up on her Senate website:
By September 1, Lincoln changed her mind. “I would not support a solely government-funded public option,” Lincoln said at an event in Little Rock. “We can’t afford that.” This afternoon, Lincoln expressed concern that the option could ignore the letter of the law and charge premiums that would not cover the cost of the program. (H/T Jon Walker)
The Senate approved the motion to proceed with the health bill by a vote of 60-39. Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH), who will retire from the Senate in 2011, did not vote. Full debate will begin after Thanksgiving.