Public option: Back from the dead?
By Ben Pershing
Everyone loves a good comeback story.
The public insurance option, the inclusion of which in a final reform plan appeared highly unlikely a month ago, now looks like a decent bet to pass in some form. The House is certain to include a version of the public option in its bill, while in the Senate, the Washington Post writes, Harry Reid "was increasingly leaning toward the idea of including a version of a public insurance option, albeit one that would allow states to opt out of such a system, in the chamber's bill." In a blog post titled, "Public Option: It's Back."Jonathan Karl reports, "Reid is now convinced that Democratic critics of the public option will support him when it counts - on the procedural motion, which requires 60 votes, to defeat a certain GOP-led filibuster of the bill."
The public option may be back from the dead, but it's still in intensive care. The move to include the provision may cost Reid the support of Olympia Snowe, who emphasized in an interview with Al Hunt that she remains opposed to including the public plan and that the reform bill could slip into 2010. ""Christmas might be too soon," she said. "We should give it the time it deserves." The Hill has several other senators predicting the "reform debate will be pushed deep into December and possibly beyond." The New York Times calls Reid's decision "a calculated gamble" that "was shaped, in part, by opinion polls showing public support for a government insurance plan." Despite the debate over the phrasing of poll questions, nearly every survey of the question has shown majority support for the public option, but support in polls doesn't necessarily translate to 60 votes in the Senate.
Posted at 8:18 AM ET on Oct 23, 2009
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