The Senate Finance Committee on September 29 shot down the controversial healthcare reform initiative of creating a public option health insurance plan to compete with private insurance companies.

The first rejection of the public option in the Senate was over an amendment to the healthcare overhaul legislation put forth by Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia), who is one of the lead Senate supporters of creating a public option. The amendment failed by a vote of 15 to 8. More public option amendments will be up for vote, however.

In a statement issued on September 25, Rockefeller, who is chairman of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Health Care, said that “the bottom line is we need a public insurance option because it will drive down private insurance costs and help make health insurance affordable.”

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Montana) wants to have the healthcare reform bill marked up and out of his committee by October 2.