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As Democrats reveal in greater detail which provisions will actually be included in health care legislation, the division within the Democratic Caucus becomes increasingly evident. Most recently, the split has come between those who share the views of liberal House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calfi.):
Any real change requires the inclusion of a strong public option to promote competition and bring down costs...
and those who share the views of moderate Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La.):
I have not been in favor of a government run option...
If such conflicting perspectives continue to exist within the Democratic Caucus, it may be Democrats--not Republicans-- who block the passage of health care reform.
In a Monday afternoon press conference, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced that the Senate's version of health care legislation will include a public option that would allow states to opt out of benefits (though, such states would still see their tax dollars go to funding the program in other states). The inclusion of the public option has caused a great deal of unrest among those who vote Democrat.
I can’t see a way in which I could vote for cloture on any bill that contained a creation of a government-operated-run insurance company. It’s just asking for trouble – in the end, the taxpayers are going to pay and probably all people who have health insurance are going to see their premiums go up because there’s going to be cost shifting as there has been for Medicare and Medicaid.
Even worse for Reid's proposal, Lieberman told reporters that he is not the only member of the Democratic Caucus who opposes the current legislation. According to the Senator from Connecticut, the number of Democrats who have some problem with it "actually goes to double figures, at different levels of intensity."
Senator Landrieu stated, "I'm skeptical about what Senator Reid has proposed," and Senator Nelson (D-Neb.) is refusing to support legislation until he reads it.
All of this spells trouble for the Democrats, who have a 60 seat majority that would otherwise be enough to push health care legislation through the Senate.
Unable to find a happy medium between differing views, it seems--for now at least-- that Democrats are their own worst enemy.