New health care bill to have public option
Today, Senator Harry Reid announced that the health care reform bill will have a public option.
According to Mr. Reid, there will be an “opt-out” version for the states until 2014, then mandatory for all. No word on the details of that, including estimated cost or other requirements.
In his press conference today, he said because of support from the White House, Senators Dodd and Baucus, “we WILL have a public option”. “I feel good about the consensus that was reached”, he continued, “within our caucus and the White House. I have always been a strong supporter of the public option. I believe it is a way to ensure competition and to level the playing field with patients and the insurance industry.”
He also said he believes the public option can achieve the goal of “bringing meaningful reform to our broken system, will protect consumers, keep insurers honest and ensure competition.”
He dodged the question – several times – about whether he actually had the 60 votes to pass the bill but did decry Republicans who “won’t help us on anything”. He says it’s unfortunate that one small thing – the public option – would keep Senator Olympia Snowe from agreeing to this bill. Reid also said that he just can’t find Republicans who will work with him to push this mandate through.
So, in spite of the bills that were “passed” out of committee, the real health care reform bill is being drafted by Harry Reid, with input from the White House, and Senators Baucus and Dodd, in closed-door sessions. Wanna bet that the 1000+ page bill doesn’t get 72 hours of sunshine before a vote?