Mark ‘31’ Udall: Colo.’s senior Senator backs Bennet push for public option

Last night lefty blogs lit up with the news that Colorado’s Sen. Mark Udall, after weeks of silence on the issue, threw in with Colorado Democratic colleague Sen. Michael Bennet in his drive to convince Majority Leader Harry Reid to reintroduce a pubic health insurance option into the Senate’s version of the health reform legislation and pass it through the simple majority vote reconciliation process, which doesn’t allow for filibustering. Udall is the 31st Senator to join the effort.

(*UPDATE: Udall has announced his support of the public option but he has not joined the group of senators who have signed the letter sent around by Bennet. David Sirota has the likely explanation.)

The public option was stripped previously because it appeared it lacked support. Bennet, and an increasing number of Democratic Senators now believe, however, that including a public option meant to increase nonprofit competition in the insurance market, is the best way to win votes and pass reform among a majority of lawmakers, particularly in the House, who want to get behind strong progressive legislation.

Three more senators joined the push in the hours after it became clear Udall would join the effort. Udall sent out a release after the news broke.


Senator Udall shares President Obama’s over-arching priority of enacting meaningful and comprehensive health reform that will increase quality and access and put our system on a sustainable track by lowering costs for small businesses, taxpayers, and American families. As part of reform, he continues to feel that inclusion of a public option to go head-to-head with private insurers could play a significant role in bringing down costs and offering more affordable options to Coloradans. He thinks it’s important that such a plan — like the one approved in the House bill — negotiate reimbursement rates while competing on a level playing field with the private sector, and if such a plan comes up for a vote under the reconciliation process, he would vote for it.

In response to the upswelling of support for the Bennet plan, Republican congressional leader Newt Gingrich sent out a lengthy dispatch on the reconciliation process and Republican alternatives in the face of Bennet’s plan. The post ends on a note of temporary resignation that Bennet might take as inspiration.

If the Democrats are bound and determined to exert all their power and manipulate every rule they can to pass their big government health bill, Republicans may not be able to stop its passage.


No matter what President Obama, Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid decide, the bottom line for Republicans is that they must stand with the American people in opposing this bill.

This doesn’t just mean voting against it and using every parliamentary maneuver available to delay its passage.

It also means running on a platform of replacing whatever left-wing health bill the Democrats manage to pass with real health reform that empowers patients and doctors, not bureaucrats, to bring down health costs. And delivering on that promise in 2011 if Republicans gain control of Congress.

… [I]t means that the Republican candidate for President in 2012 must run on a platform that includes signing the replacement of the left’s big government health bill. After all, no matter what dirty tricks the politician may try to get his way, in America, the people have the final say.

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