Sen. Jeff Merkley has lined up 32 Democratic cosponsors for Senate Resolution 561, the “public option bill,” but, as of Sept. 26, not Sen. Tim Kaine.
Merkley, a Democrat from Washington state, is calling for the government to support “efforts to increase competition and accountability in the health insurance marketplace” by offering every American the “choice of a public insurance plan,” according to the resolution text, which was introduced Sept. 15.
The list of cosponsors includes Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., the outgoing minority leader, and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., who is viewed as Reid’s successor.
Kaine, a Democrat from Virginia and Hillary Clinton’s running mate, has stayed off the list.
While serving as governor of Virginia, Kaine hired Marilyn Tavenner to be his health secretary.
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Tavenner, a former hospital executive, went on to become the administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services while the Affordable Care Act was being implemented. She is now president of America’s Health Insurance Plans, a Washington-based health insurance company trade group.
Many AHIP members sell Medicare Advantage plans and managed Medicaid plans.
The text of S.Res. 561 describes how a public option program might operate only in general terms.