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3 Dems seek congressional public option

Dec. 4, 2009 at 5:59 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Three Senate Democrats say they want to join a Republican amendment that would require congressional members to use any public healthcare plan Congress OKs.

Sens. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, Barbara Mikulski of Maryland and Sherrod Brown of Ohio filed a unanimous consent request Friday to co-sponsor an amendment being drafted by GOP Sens. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and David Vitter of Louisiana, The Hill reported.

In addition, Vitter said he also was considering a proposal that would ban physician services now available to legislators at the Capitol as well as special privileges allowed at military hospitals.

"If we have a public option in this plan -- and my hope is that we will -- then I think there is nothing wrong with insisting that members of Congress be included," Dodd said. "We support it in our committee, and I'm prepared to support it again here on the floor of the (U.S.) Senate."

Brown said he wanted to join the Vitter-Coburn amendment during a floor speech Friday.

"I want to add my name to Senator Coburn's amendment," Brown said. "Seventeen years ago, when I first ran for Congress, I promised I'd pay my own health insurance until Congress passed health insurance for everyone. I've paid it out of my pocket since then. I look forward with great eagerness to join the public option as soon as it's available."

Vitter and Coburn are two of the more passionate opponents of the public option.

"The idea, broad brush, is that whatever government option is in the bill, every senator and every representative should be enrolled in it," said Vitter, who tried to introduce similar language earlier. "No other possibilities, no other choices."

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