8 a.m. ET: 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.
The sailing in the House isn't completely smooth either, as Politico reports: "Nancy Pelosi counted votes Thursday night and determined she could not pass a “robust public option.” ... Pelosi's decision — coupled with a significant turn of events yesterday during a private White House meeting — points to an increasingly likely compromise for a trigger option for a government plan." (The story adds that President Obama "favored the trigger option" put forth by Snowe.) The Hill adds (in a story posted 12 hours before Politico's "exclusive" report) that the "survey ordered by Pelosi turned up 46 Democrats who said they would vote against the so-called 'robust' public option, according to a Democratic lawmaker who spoke on the condition of anonymity." And Roll Call writes, "Three dozen moderate Democrats are warning [Pelosi and Steny Hoyer] that they must show that their health care bill will cut long-term costs or they will vote it down."
Amid all the back-and-forth, Jonathan Cohn sums up the situation this way: "At least for the moment, the debate isn't over whether to include a public option. It's over what kind." Confused about the various compromise proposals? Ezra Klein offers a concise guide to the menu of options. Nate Silver provides an analysis, complete with a (complicated) chart, of how the various plans would be implemented and how they would operate once in place.
Please email us to report offensive comments.
The comments to this entry are closed.