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 SchumerFCC advances proposal to unmask blocked caller ID in threat cases Trump: Pelosi's leadership good for the GOP Live coverage: Senate GOP unveils its ObamaCare repeal bill MORE (D-N.Y.), on track to be the next Democratic leader, and Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders: ‘Thousands will die’ under GOP health bill A tale of two drug bills — one proposed bill will worsen the drug prices crisis The Hill's 12:30 Report 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 MerkleyJeff MerkleyOvernight Regulation: Labor groups fear rollback of Obama worker protection rule | Trump regs czar advances in Senate | New FCC enforcement chief Dems urge Sessions to reject AT&T-Time Warner merger Dems step up attacks on GOP ObamaCare bill 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 Rodham ClintonTrump notes 'election meddling by Russia' in tweet criticizing Obama Former Obama advisor calls Fox ‘state sanctioned media’ Biden rips Senate GOP healthcare bill, says it 'isn't about healthcare' 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 MurrayPatty MurrayDems push for more action on power grid cybersecurity Live coverage: Senate GOP unveils its ObamaCare repeal bill Senators grill Perry on Yucca nuclear storage plans MORE (Wash.), Dick DurbinDick DurbinDems push for more action on power grid cybersecurity Live coverage: Senate GOP unveils its ObamaCare repeal bill Senate Dem offers patent reform bill MORE (Ill.), Debbie StabenowDebbie StabenowNo certainty on cost-sharing payments to insurers Dems express concerns about Trump's proposed rural development cuts Trump, Clinton campaign aides launch their own bids MORE (Mich.), Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerTime is now to address infrastructure needs Tom Steyer testing waters for Calif. gubernatorial bid Another day, another dollar for retirement advice rip-offs MORE (Calif.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinDem senators urged Obama to take action on Russia before election Senate panel questions Lynch on alleged FBI interference The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (Calif.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseSenate panel questions Lynch on alleged FBI interference Judiciary Committee to continue Russia probe after Mueller meeting GOP hits the gas on ObamaCare repeal MORE (R.I.) and Al FrankenAl FrankenDrug pricing order would cut regulations Dems push for more action on power grid cybersecurity Congress poised to prohibit airlines from forcibly removing customers MORE (Minn.).