Senate Dems unveil new public option push for ObamaCare

Senate Dems unveil new public option push for ObamaCare
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Senate Democrats and liberal groups are unveiling a new push to add a public option on ObamaCare on Thursday. 

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The effort is led by senators including Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerAmerica isn't ready to let Sessions off his leash Schumer celebrates New York Giants firing head coach: ‘About time’ GOP should reject the left's pessimism and the deficit trigger MORE (D-N.Y.), on track to be the next Democratic leader, and Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersSchumer: Franken should resign Franken resignation could upend Minnesota races Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign MORE (I-Vt.), who galvanized liberals in his presidential campaign with a push to go even further and set up a “Medicare for all” system. Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyAvalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Senate nixes provision boosting conservative college after uproar Overnight Energy: Panel advances controversial Trump nominee | Ex-coal boss Blankenship to run for Senate | Dem commissioner joins energy regulator MORE (D-Ore.) is spearheading the effort. 

Adding a government-run insurance option, called a public option, to compete with private insurers has long been a goal of liberals. It has received new energy in recent months, as President Obama has called for adding one into the health law in order to address geographic areas with a lack of competition, and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGrassley blasts Democrats over unwillingness to probe Clinton GOP lawmakers cite new allegations of political bias in FBI Top intel Dem: Trump Jr. refused to answer questions about Trump Tower discussions with father MORE has supported the idea as well. 

A public option has essentially no chance of passing Congress as long as Republicans control one chamber, and even some centrist Democrats are wary

Still, liberal groups like the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, MoveOn.Org and Democracy for America are launching a petition at WeWantAPublicOption.com, in conjunction with a Senate resolution.

“We need more competition in the insurance markets, not less, and a public option would help reduce costs and provide consumers with more affordable options when it comes to their health insurance,” Schumer said in a statement. 

Sanders echoed themes of his campaign, saying that while “the Affordable Care Act has made great progress in helping millions of people get access to health insurance ... Insurance companies have shown they are more concerned with serving their shareholders than their customers. Every American deserves the choice of a public option in health insurance.”

The liberal groups indicated that they will be making advocacy for a public option a priority, along with debt-free college and expanding Social Security. 

The idea of a public option has risen in prominence given that some private insurers are pulling back on ObamaCare participation, leaving some areas of the country, particularly rural ones, with just one insurance option on the law’s marketplaces. 

The other Democratic senators joining the push are Sens. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayDemocrats turn on Al Franken VA slashes program that helps homeless veterans obtain housing: report The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (Wash.), Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDemocrats turn on Al Franken Minnesota's largest newspaper calls on Franken to resign Democratic senator predicts Franken will resign Thursday MORE (Ill.), Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowThe Hill's 12:30 Report Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Democrats to Trump: Ask Forest Service before shrinking monuments MORE (Mich.), Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerBarbara Boxer recounts harassment on Capitol Hill: ‘The entire audience started laughing’ 100 years of the Blue Slip courtesy Four more lawmakers say they’ve been sexually harassed by colleagues in Congress MORE (Calif.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinGrassley blasts Democrats over unwillingness to probe Clinton Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Blumenthal: ‘Credible case' of obstruction of justice can be made against Trump MORE (Calif.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseOvernight Regulation: Net neutrality supporters predict tough court battle | Watchdog to investigate EPA chief's meeting with industry group | Ex-Volkswagen exec gets 7 years for emissions cheating Overnight Energy: Watchdog probes Pruitt speech to mining group | EPA chief promises to let climate scientists present their work | Volkswagen manager gets 7 years for emissions cheating EPA head pledges to protect climate scientists MORE (R.I.) and Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenDemocrats turn on Al Franken Schumer called, met with Franken and told him to resign Overnight Finance: Trump says shutdown 'could happen' | Ryan, conservatives inch closer to spending deal | Senate approves motion to go to tax conference | Ryan promises 'entitlement reform' in 2018 MORE (Minn.).