Monday, October 26, 2009

Health Care: Trigger? State Opt-out? Or Real Public Option?

We have plenty of news on the health care front to talk about today. Contrary to earlier media reports, the public option isn't dead after all. However, efforts to cripple it are still very much alive.

"Co-President" Olympia Snowe recently admitted that she's trying to slow down and bog down the health care bill in the Senate... Oh, and she still won't allow any public option without her beloved trigger to indefinitely delay it. So now the question is whether "Elected President" Barack Obama will allow Snowe to delay health care reform and water it down some more. mcjoan at Daily Kos seems to believe The White House's denial that Rahm Emmanuel is encouraging Obama to go with Snowe's trigger, but Jane Hamsher at FDL says the paper trail is just too long to ignore.

Whatever is actually true about Obama's real views on the trigger proposal, it looks like The White House is playing a more active role these days in Congressional negotiations. We're just wondering if this is a good or bad thing. I'm hoping for the best, but PCCC isn't wasting any time in making sure Obama works for a better bill.

In the mean time, our own Harry Reid will be announcing this afternoon the merged Senate bill. So far, it looks like the bill will have a public option with a state opt-out provision. Honestly, I'm not big on the state opt-out because I think individuals should make the choice on the public health insurance option, not the state governments. However, it's an otherwise trigger-free public option and Harry Reid is to be commended for sticking to his guns on it.

Meanwhile on the House side, Nancy Pelosi is only about 10 votes away from not just any public option, but the strongest possible one with a Medicare+5 rate. As I reported last week, Dina Titus is on board with it... But she and other House members may be leveraging to get more "bacon" in the bill that they can bring home to their respective districts. While I appreciate Dina's efforts to get the best bill possible for Nevada, it doesn't hurt for us to keep encouraging her to stick with the Medicare+5 public option.

And as long as both Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi whip up the votes for the strongest public option possible in their respective houses of Congress, hopefully this will get President Obama to realize he doesn't need Olympia Snowe's hurtful "trigger" to get a bill on his desk for him to sign.

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