Evan Bayh and Bill Nelson Open to State Public Plans
Shailagh Murray and Lori Montgomery have an excellent overview on the next steps for health-care reform, and in particular, for the various compromises needed to pass a bill. Particularly worth noting is that Sen. Ben Nelson and Evan Bayh are beginning to talk about compromises on the public option.
One proposal attracting considerable attention originated with Sen. Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.) and would allow states to decide whether to create their own insurance plans or join forces to provide coverage in collaboration with neighboring states. Other Democrats want to take the state-based approach a step further, creating a national public plan that states could join. Carper, a moderate, said he is not sure he is prepared to go that far. "I'm just chewing on that one," he said.
Sen. Evan Bayh (Ind.), a moderate Democrat, was bullish on Carper's approach. "I think something like that is likely, and would probably pass muster with moderates," he said. Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), who opposes a public option, said he likes Carper's idea. "I think the states, as laboratories of democracy, probably can find ways to deal with this, and if they do make a mistake it's a smaller mistake to correct than at the federal level," Nelson said.
This suggests two things, both of them cheering: The most conservative of the Democratic centrists are not going to draw a hard line against the public option, and they're actually negotiating toward support for the bill. There's going to be a lot of Senate pressure for a full public option, and a lot of House pressure for a full public option, and the moderates aren't planted so far to the other side of the issue that a compromise is inconceivable.
October 13, 2009; 1:13 PM ET
Categories: Health Reform
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