Josh Marshal is keeping track of the debate. Sen. Jay Rockefeller introduced the bill with harsh words for the insurance industry, and Sen. Max Baucus is reported to have been visibly agitated by the speech.
Sen. Schumer supports the Rockefeller amendment, but of course has introduced his own “level playing field” version in which case the public option would not be linked to Medicare and it would negotiate rather than set fees. That amendment comes up for debate later.
In the meantime Republican Charles Grassely made a remarkable comment that Medicare has become “part of the social fabric of America” just like Social Security, both of which were vehemently opposed by Republicans when initially passed. With that statement, he’s unwittingly set an historical context for the Demorats’ meme – the Republicans oppose it now but will take credit for it in 50 years. Here’s the clip. Ignore the McCain title.
You can watch the hearing live through this link.
Addendum: More pressure on the Blue Dogs.
And a heart-tugging anecdote about an uninsured baby with a faulty heart.