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.)