Yesterday on Face the Nation, Sen. Chuck Schumer guaranteed that the public option would be in whatever health care bill makes its way through the House and Senate.

Guaranteed it.

Here’s the exchange with Schumer:

DICKERSON: . . . Senator Schumer, I want to bring you in. You’ve been trying to find some kind of middle ground. You’re a supporter of a pure public option, but you’ve also been trying to work with Senator Grassley and even Democrats in your own party who have been talking about a co-op. Where do those negotiations stand?

SCHUMER: Well, we’re making every effort to reach common ground. But let me just say this. We need somebody to keep the public — the private insurance companies honest. They are terribly concentrated. In Chuck Grassley’s own state, 71 percent by one company.

In 94 percent of the markets, according to the Justice Department, health insurance is highly concentrated. So without a public option, you’re going to have no competition. And the public is going to be forced — you know, they don’t like the insurance companies simply raising prices and raising prices and cutting back on coverage and cutting back on coverage. . . .

. . .Already, John, the House has proposed its plan, has a strong public option. The HELP Committee, the other committee in the Senate doing this, has proposed a strong public option. The Finance Committee, we’re trying to come to some compromise but make no mistake about it, the president is for this strongly.

There will be a public option in the final bill, some form of it. . . .  We want it to be a fair, level playing field, but you need something the big boys honest. And the only thing that really is out there is a public option.

We don’t trust the private insurance companies left to their own devices and neither do the American people. Seventy percent of the American people support a public option. (emphasis mine)

We’re going to hold you to that guarantee, Chuck. No idea when you became the Great and Powerful Oz on health care on the Hill.

But now that you’ve made this public guarantee?

We expect you and everyone else in the House and Senate to deliver on it.  And we’ll be watching you closely to be certain that you do.

(YouTube — Sen. Schumer on Face the Nation.)

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com

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