Bill Nelson Tries to Have It Both Ways on Public Option

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.

Over the summer, while the entire country was caught up in health-care-reform fever, discussing death panels and public options, Sen. Bill Nelson was busy talking about the great python menace and Chinese drywall. 

Which would maybe make sense if he chaired the Senate Special Committee on Snakes and Drywall, but he sits on the Senate Finance Committee, which is responsible for drafting one of the key health-care bills. 

Finally he spoke up, touting a co-op plan and calling public option supporters "clueless," and yesterday voted against an amendment that would have added a strong public option to the Finance Committee's bill. That failed, and then he turned around and supported another amendment that would have added a weaker public option (which made less sense, but whatever), but that still failed because there are actually Democrats more "moderate" than Nelson. And we have to wonder if he would have voted for it if it looked like it was going to pass. 

Of course, Nelson comes off in a sweet political spot. He can tell Florida's voters -- who have somehow come to equate any form of government-run health insurance that isn't Medicare or Medicaid with Nazis -- that he voted against a public option and then turn around and tell the libs down here he supported a public option. Regardless of whether or not some sort of public option actually becomes law. 

I have no problem with moderates who actually dig deep into their political hearts and souls and find nothing but, um, moderation. But Nelson has always seemed to be a bit more cautious and calculating. It's pretty fishy that he had spoke out against any public option and then decided to vote for it in a watered-down format. 

As for the public option, it's a bit more moribund than the day before, but not dead just yet. It's still included in another Senate bill and three House bills, so during reconciliation of all of these proposals, it might still make it into law. 

Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.