Moments ago, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) announced that he is prepared to vote against the Senate health care bill in light of the recent decision to strip the public option and the Medicare buy-in provision from the legislation. Appearing on Fox Business’ Cavuto, Sanders said “I’m struggling with this, but as of this point, I’m not voting for the bill.”
Sanders is the only member of the Democratic caucus to publicly oppose the Senate legislation and it’s unclear if he would vote for cloture but oppose the final bill. Still, Sanders’ objections raise new doubts about whether Reid has the votes to file cloture on the bill tomorrow and pass it before Christmas:
I’m struggling with this. As of this point, I’m not voting for the bill…I’m going to do my best to make this bill a better bill, a bill that I can vote for, but I’ve indicated both to the White House and the Democratic leadership that my vote is not secure at this point. And here is the reason. When the public option was withdrawn, because of Lieberman’s action, what I worry about is how do you control escalating health care costs?
“How do you give competition to the private insurance companies who are raising rates, premium rates outrageously every year, who’s only function in life is to make as much money as they can?’ Sanders asked. “What a strong Medicare-type public option would do is at least provide competition and prevent, I believe these large increases in rates.”
Earlier today, Republicans filibustered Sanders’ single payer amendment by asking clerk to read all 767 pages. After 2.5 hours, Sanders reluctantly withdrew his amendment.