Menendez: Public option has 'momentum'

Despite its failure to pass the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday, a liberal member of the panel said the public option has "momentum" because of public support.

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) took to Twitter to express confidence that the public option will pass after the Finance Committee voted down amendments by Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) that would have included a public health insurance option in the bill.

The second-term senator tweeted:

http://twitpic.com/jmvle Speaking to press after public option votes in Finance. Two-thirds of Americans support it, there is momentum.

Menendez pointed to a recently released New York Times/CBS News poll that showed two-thirds of respondents support a government-run health insurance plan.

Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), who did not included the public option in his original proposal, praised the the public plan but voted against both amendments.

Sens. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), and Baucus were the three Democrats who voted against Schumer's proposal. The trio plus Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Bill Nelson (D-Neb.) voted against Rockefeller's proposal.

Schumer's proposal differed from Rockefeller's plan in that it did not tie doctors' reimbursement rates to Medicare.