Liberals aren't particularly impressed with the draft health care legislation Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) circulated over the weekend...to say the least. But for reform-oriented members of the Senate the key at this point is simple: get the ball out of Baucus' court.
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Though they were largely closed out of negotiations over health care legislation for the last several weeks, some members of the Senate Finance Committee--including Sens. Schumer, Rockefeller, and Kerry--do support a public option. But though Baucus' draft falls far short on that score, they'll almost certainly vote to move it forward anyhow.
"If they vote against it, it won't be in the Finance committee," says a Senate Democratic aide.
Once it's out of committee, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will take the lead in merging it with legislation voted out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee--and at that point, the fate of the public option in the Senate will be largely in his hands.