Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) became the 10th Senator to sign on to a new effort by Democrats to press Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to pass a public option for insurance coverage using reconciliation, her office confirmed to the Huffington Post on Wednesday.And Stein notes, Feinstein hasn't been out in public urging that we get a public option before. This is a startling surprise of pleasant indeed:
The California Democrat joins a list of mostly progressive members to offer her late-stage support for the government run plan. In a letter to Reid on Tuesday a quartet of Democrats penned urged Reid to pass the proposal through parliamentary procedures that allow a simple up-or-down vote.
In putting her name among the signatories Feinstein expands the pool of senators pushing for a public plan beyond the progressive wing and those lawmakers facing primary challenges in the 2010 midterm elections. The California Democrat has been a supporter of the proposal from the start, though not a particularly vocal one. The recent news that the largest insurer in her home state, Anthem Blue Cross, was raising premiums on its customers by as much as 39 percent played a role in her decision.There I say, has the public option out of nowhere had its most unexpected and dramatic Lazarus moment to date?
"I can think of no better example of why we need health insurance reform," she said of the rate-hike news, "and this kind of behavior is a stark reminder of why any reform plan should establish a rate authority to keep insurance rates affordable."