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 SchumerThis week: GOP mulls vote on ‘abolish ICE’ legislation Red-state Dem tells Schumer to 'kiss my you know what' on Supreme Court vote Dem infighting erupts over Supreme Court pick MORE (D-N.Y.), on track to be the next Democratic leader, and Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersMellman: (Mis)interpreting elections Dems to propose legislation to prevent ICE from shackling pregnant women Rasmussen poll: Nearly three-quarters of Dems want 'fresh face' as nominee in 2020 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 MerkleySenate Dems protest vote on controversial court pick Senate adds members to pro-NATO group Senate GOP poised to break record on Trump's court picks 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 ClintonOvernight Defense: Trump tries to quell Russia furor | GOP looks to reassure NATO | Mattis open to meeting Russian counterpart Dem pollster: GOP women have a more difficult time winning primary races than Dems Mellman: (Mis)interpreting elections 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 MurrayDems to propose legislation to prevent ICE from shackling pregnant women Top Dems urge Trump officials to reverse suspension of ObamaCare payments Dems launch pressure campaign over migrant families MORE (Wash.), Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenate Dems press for info on any deals from Trump-Putin meeting Too many Americans go to prison but Congress can fix this problem This week: GOP mulls vote on ‘abolish ICE’ legislation MORE (Ill.), Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowLobbying world The Hill's Morning Report — Trump, Putin meet under cloud of Mueller’s Russia indictments Dem senator: Kavanaugh sides with 'wealthiest special interests' MORE (Mich.), Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerKamala Harris on 2020 presidential bid: ‘I’m not ruling it out’ The ‘bang for the buck’ theory fueling Trump’s infrastructure plan Kamala Harris endorses Gavin Newsom for California governor MORE (Calif.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump, Putin meet under cloud of Mueller’s Russia indictments Dems launch pressure campaign over migrant families California Dems endorse progressive challenger over Feinstein MORE (Calif.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseSenate Dems protest vote on controversial court pick Who is Andrew Wheeler, EPA's new acting chief? Congress can protect midterm elections with the Disclose Act MORE (R.I.) and Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenAP Analysis: 25 state lawmakers running in 2018 have been accused of sexual misconduct Franken offers Dems a line of questioning for Kavanaugh's 'weirdly specific bit of bulls---' The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — GOP lawmakers race to find an immigration fix MORE (Minn.).