Sen. Blanche Lincoln’s (D-AR) position on the public option for health care reform has been “difficult to pin down.” On July 8, she wrote in an op-ed that reform options should include “a quality, affordable public plan or nonprofit plan.” But a month later, she told the Tolbert Report that she “would not support a public government-funded plan,” later walking that back in another interview, saying that she was “open to a public plan as long as it’s competitive.” Now, Lincoln tells the New York Times that she is holding out the option of voting against health care reform:
Ms. Lincoln, the wife of an obstetrician and the mother of twin 13-year-old boys, might feel the consequences more immediately than her counterparts. Not only is she running in 2010, but she sits on the Finance Committee, which is struggling to draft a health care bill capable of winning bipartisan support.
If that effort fails, Ms. Lincoln may be left to vote on legislation crafted by more liberal committees in the House and Senate. She said she had problems with key components of those bills, but would surely face intense pressure in her party to back them.
Might Ms. Lincoln actually vote no? “I wouldn’t preclude myself from that, no,” she said in an interview, adding, “I know I’ll be held accountable for that vote.”
Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) said he wouldn’t vote for a bill without a public option, adding: “Not only I, but I think there’s about 100 members of the House that you need to have something to bring down the prices.”