In response to calls for him to sign the Bennet letter urging the inclusion of the public option in health reform via reconciliation, Senator Ron Wyden issued this press release last night:
Statement on Bennet Letter Urging Use of Budget Reconciliation to Pass a Public Health Insurance Option
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Washington, D.C. - Jennifer Hoelzer, Communications Director for U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), issued the following statement today in response to requests that Senator Wyden sign Senator Michael Bennet's (D-CO) letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) urging use of budget reconciliation to pass a public health insurance option:
"Over the last few days, many Oregonians have been calling our offices asking Senator Wyden to sign Senator Bennet's letter urging the use of budget reconciliation to pass a public health insurance option. Callers should know that Senator Wyden appreciates the time that each and every one of them has taken to call his office. He not only continues to support the public option - which he twice voted for in the Senate Finance Committee - he continues to think reconciliation should remain on the table if it proves necessary to guarantee that every American has quality, affordable health insurance. Senator Wyden has, however, held off on signing the Bennet letter because - as is now known - the President invited him to attend tomorrow's bipartisan health care summit and he intends to first join the President in a good faith effort to see if a bipartisan solution is possible."
Well, he is open to reconciliation, but not a yes on the public option through reconciliation yet.
Openleft community member fladem also acquired the following statement from Jon Tester's office:
"Jon has been very supportive of a public option in the past, but he'll continue running any health care ideas through a gauntlet to see if they're right for Montana's families, small businesses and family farms and ranches. Jon is not in the 'do-nothing' camp. He continues to believe that if nothing is done to reform health care, then Medicare will go broke, no one will hold insurance companies accountable, and health care costs will continue to break Montana families.
That is "maybe" to both questions.
So, on the morning of the health care summit, the Senate reconciliation whip count stands as follows:
#1: Open to reconciliation to finish health reform?
No comment: 12
#2: Include public option in reconciliation?
No comment: 18
Almost there on reconciliation. If Democrats can't pass health reform now, it is because they just can't agree on the content.