Leaders Confident They Have Support For A Public Option In Final House Health BillCQ Politics: "'We're right around 218 (votes) for a robust public option,' Democratic Caucus Chairman John B. Larson of Connecticut said early Wednesday afternoon as Majority Whip James E. Clyburn , D-S.C., was working to complete a whip count of Democrats that Speaker Nancy Pelosi , D-Calif., asked for on Tuesday." There are 256 Democrats in the House, but some moderates have balked at inclusion of a public plan, "especially one linked to Medicare rates," CQ Politics reports (10/21).
CongressDaily: "But a Democratic aide said leaders needed to hit a higher number to account for members who would support a 'robust' public option but might object to other parts of the bill." Leaders are set to announce an agreement today that would call for two studies at the Institute of Medicine to determine reimbursement rates. "A Democratic aide said the studies would account for several factors, including geography and the demographics of communities. The studies' recommendations would go into effect unless both chambers of Congress passed resolutions of disapproval condemning them" (Hunt, 10/22).
Roll Call reports that details are still being worked out, but a proposal would provide about $8 billion extra for states with high quality outcomes and low costs. Many still have questions about reimbursement rates, and others have concerns about the bill's tax treatment and impact on small business (Dennis, 10/22).
Pelosi's support of a "robust" public plan is drawing centrist complaints from the Blue Dog Democrats, who are hinting they may have the votes to stop her, The Hill reports. "'...there's been less than 12 Blue Dogs willing to support this,' said Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah), the Blue Dogs' co-chairman for communications. The number 12 is significant, because it indicates that 40 of the 52 Blue Dogs might be ready to vote for it. If 39 or more Democrats were to join all Republicans in voting against a bill, it would fail on the House floor" (Soraghan, 10/21). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.