Release: Sanders Signs Letter on Health Care Supporting Public Option

BURLINGTON, Vt. February 17 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today added his signature to a letter urging Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to bring a public health insurance option before the Senate for a vote.

“At a time when there is deep skepticism and mistrust of the private insurance industry, when just last month a major health insurer in California announced it would raise its premiums by a whopping 39 percent in one fell swoop, the American people have made it clear that they want the option to buy their insurance through a Medicare-type, government-run public insurance plan,” Sanders said. 

“The public option is not just important for the individual consumer, it is an important mechanism to provide competition for the private, for-profit health insurance industry, to keep them honest, and to lower the overall cost of health care in our country,” Sanders added.  “I am very pleased to join with my Senate colleagues to urge passage of a public health insurance plan using the budget reconciliation process.”

Sanders is a member of the Senate health committee.

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) spearheaded the effort to revive the public option.

“Although we strongly support the important reforms made by the Senate-passed health reform package, including a strong public option would improve both its substance and the public’s perception of it," the letter stated. "The Senate has an obligation to reform our unworkable health insurance market — both to reduce costs and to give consumers more choices. A strong public option is the best way to deliver on both of these goals, and we urge its consideration under reconciliation rules.”