Public Plan – Or Something Like It – Still On The Table In Health Reform Debate
Some news outlets looked beyond the Senate Finance Committee vote on health reform to what may be in the final package considered by the full Senate.
Politico: "Groping for a way out of a political bind, Democrats are defining down what constitutes a government-run insurance plan - and by extension, what it takes to declare victory. At this point, Senate Democrats are signaling they could get behind just about anything they could plausibly call the public option - from a 'trigger' that could kick in a public insurance plan later, to Delaware Sen. Tom Carper's proposal to give states an option to create a government program. Liberals who've long distrusted private insurers and dreamed of a nationwide, government-run insurance plan see it as a cave-in. Senate leaders see something different - a path to 60 votes for the first time all year."
"'It's a tried-and-true legislative strategy for getting everyone to 'yes,' ' said a Democratic strategist familiar with congressional leadership strategy. 'Narrow your differences by broadening the definition of what constitutes success." (Budoff Brown, 10/11).
The Los Angeles Times had a Q & A about the week ahead, which included the following: .
"What is the 'opt-out' public option being discussed as a possible compromise?
A proposal championed by Sens. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.) would allow states to decide whether they want to include a government-run insurance plan on a state insurance exchange. The idea is an attempt to attract liberal supporters who believe a so-called public option must be part of a final bill and moderates who don't want to force the option on states. The provision is not currently part of the Finance bill, but could be added by Reid or through an amendment on the Senate floor" (Geiger, 10/11).
Gannett/Herald Times Reporter: "With the Senate Finance Committee set to vote this week on its version of health-care reform, Sens. Russ Feingold and Herb Kohl have joined a group of Democrats in pressuring the majority leader to ensure that a government-sponsored plan is part of any legislation that comes up for full debate. The two Wisconsin senators were among 30 Senate Democrats who signed a letter Thursday urging Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada to exert his leadership over the shape of a final bill that comprises elements of legislation already passed by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee and the finance committee's proposal. 'We are concerned that - absent a competitive and continuous public insurance option - health reform legislation will not produce nationwide access and ongoing cost containment,' the senators' letter said" (Bivins, 10/11).