IT’S IN THERE: Public Option Added To Senate Bill


LOS ANGELES TIMES: Fueling momentum behind the push for a new government insurance plan, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Monday that his healthcare bill will include a compromise that would create a nationwide “public option,” while giving states the option to “opt out” of such a plan. “The public option is not a silver bullet, (but) I believe it’s an important way to ensure competition and to level the playing field for patients harry_reid_CROPPED.jpgwith the insurance industry,” Reid told reporters. “Under this concept, states will be able to decide what works for them.” Reid sent the proposal to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office to be analyzed Monday, a key step before he can bring a bill to the floor for debate. MORE

MOTHER JONES: He’s sounding dog whistles that Senate blue dogs will definitely hear—talking about how much his caucus supports health care reform, mentioning the 60-year history of Democratic health care reform efforts, and emphasizing that there really aren’t many moderate Republicans left. MORE

JANE HAMSHER: In his presser, Harry Reid said very little about what kind of an “opt-out” he’ll put in the final bill. The good news: Pressure on Reid from progressives when his poll numbers are flagging made him defy the White House. More importantly, he ratted them out to the press. Rahm thought he could continue to push for triggers in the background and satisfy the base by mouthing gibberish about “the President supports a public option” until it was too late.   It didn’t work out so well. The bad news:  Having a state opt-out that will make corporatist Democrats happy is quite likely not to be “available nationwide from day one,” and thus does not meet the the definition of a “robust public option” by anyone’s terms. Depending on how an opt-out was written, it could potentially disenfranchise large parts of the populationMORE

whitehouse-logo_svg.thumbnail.jpgROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: “The President congratulates Senator Reid and Chairmen Baucus and Dodd for their hard work on health insurance reform. Thanks to their efforts, we’re closer than we’ve ever been to solving this decades-old problem. And while much work remains, the President is pleased that at the progress that Congress has made. He’s also pleased that the Senate has decided to include a public option for health coverage, in this case with an allowance for states to opt out. As he said to Congress and the nation in September, he supports the public option because it has the potential to play an essential role in holding insurance companies accountable through choice and competition.”


NEW YORK OBSERVER: There’s also a more basic imperative for the president: He badly needs to be seen as having scored a political victory on health care, an issue that has flummoxed and undermined presidents for decades. The promise of his presidency was and remains transformational change, but his critics—with increasing support from mainstream outlets—are starting to score points with the claim that he really hasn’t done much. A health care signing ceremony would serve as a powerful refutation of this contention. Understandably, then, the White House view seems to be that some kind of reform bill, even if it ends up watered down and laughably limited in scope, is better than no reform bill—so why let a sticky subject like the public option be the deal-breaker? Reinforcing this sense is the fact that the public option, even in the context of the most generous and expansive legislation now under consideration, would only affect a sliver of Americans—mainly small business employees and individuals not covered by employer plans. The vast majority of Americans would be ineligible to buy in even if they wanted to. The White House seems to have concluded that there’s no good reason to go to war over something that affects so few. MORE

HUFFINGTON POST: More than three out of every four Americans feel it is important to have a “choice” lobbyist.gifbetween a government-run health care insurance option and private coverage, according to a public opinion poll released on Thursday.  A new study by SurveyUSA puts support for a public option at a robust 77 percent, one percentage point higher than where it stood in June. MORE

CBS NEWS: In his speech, Mr. Obama argued that a public health option, health exchanges, and other reforms would increase competition in the health insurance marketplace. While 46 percent of Americans agree with the president, 19 percent disagree, and 26 percent say there would be no impact. MORE

TALK LEFT: While [some] are spinning as hard as they can against the public option, it is worth noting that the Washington Post poll they are using for this purpose actually shows 76% support the current public option proposals. MORE

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Here’s a problem for the GOP, high-lighted in the latest Quinnipiac University poll. The party’s attacks on health care reform, led by charges of a government takeover, seem to have pounded down American opinion not just on the President’s health reform efforts, but on their own image. And more, one thing that remains broadly popular: a government-run health insurance option. Here are the numbers. President Obama remains reasonably popular with a 50% job approval rating, even though only 40% of folks like his health care reform push, compared to 47% who do not. What they do like is the public option, by a very healthy 61% to 34% margin. MORE




ATLANTIC: As liberal Democrats will try (and are expected to fail) to add a public-option provision to flying_saucer_girl.thumbnail.jpgChairman Max Baucus’s health care bill this week in the Senate Finance Committee, Media Matters for America points out that more Americans believe in UFOs than oppose the public option. It sounds outlandish, but it’s about right: a 2007 Associated Press poll (cited by Media Matters) finds that 34 percent of Americans believe in the existence of UFOs. Meanwhile, anywhere from 26 to 42 percent oppose the public option, according to recent major polls not commissioned by backers or opponents of said option. MORE

HUFFINGTONPOST: In a bold push to pass a public option for insurance coverage, a progressive advocacy group is launching an ad campaign directly calling into question the toughness of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. MORE

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