During this morning’s debate over Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s (D-WV) public plan amendment, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) challenged Sen. Chuck Grassley’s (R-IA) claim that the public option would lead to single payer health care. The exchange flustered Grassley. He admitted that Medicare is part of the “social fabric” of America and praised the competition between traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage, but then said moments later that the government is a “predator.” “So you don’t want Medicare?” Schumer asked. Grassley concluded, “Medicare is part of the social fabric of America, and I think there’s a lot wrong with it.” Watch it:
According to a Congressional Budget Office analysis of Rockefeller’s amendment — which establishes a plan that reimburses providers at 5% above Medicare rates for the first two years — the public option would save the government an estimated $50 billion. Only eight million Americans would sign-up for the program, leaving the overwhelming majority of Americans to private coverage. Rockefeller’s amendment ultimately failed by a vote of 15-8.