About a year ago, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee chairman assigned Sen. Charles Schumer to handle what became the lightning rod of the health overhaul bill: a public option. Schumer went to work in vintage fashion. He scoped out the range of views and crafted a compromise, with a catchy name - Plan USA, which he first unveiled at a hearing last May. But by August the White House had effectively sacrificed the public option to win over moderate Democrats. Schumer then focused on New York - where Gov. David A. Paterson and Mayor Michael Bloomberghad hammered him for failing to win a sufficient stream of Medicaid funds for the state.
To get that money, Schumer said he negotiated directly with the president. The public option? It never was a New York issue.
- Tom Brune