Following the Senate’s big news yesterday on the public option, some House progressives have been feeling bullish about the chances for the strong version of the public plan, as I reported yesterday. But they aren’t quite there yet. After a House Democratic caucus meeting this morning, Representative Raul Grijalva said that the House had between 206 and 210 votes to support the strong version of the public option, which would reimburse providers based on Medicare plus 5 percent. “It’s still being contemplated,” he told me this afternoon.
A while ago, I criticized a new paper on the supremacy of the U.S. healthcare system that was being touted by Gary Becker and Greg Mankiw. The paper, by Samuel Preston and Jessica Ho at the University of Pennsylvania, showed that mortality trends for prostate and breast cancer were much better in the U.S. than in other advanced countries. My main beef was that Preston and Ho's research design was too blunt to really pick up on why this was the case. But I see that an updated NBER version of the paper has more details on what could be behind the better U.S.
Insurance companies don't like women. (Kaiser Health News) Paul Krugman likes Massachusetts. (New York Times) Timothy Noah doesn't like the administration's deference to Olympia Snowe. (Slate) Austin Frakt likes the public option. (Incidental Economist) Harry Reid doesn't like his reputation as a softy. (Politico)
Now this is why I was rooting against that Olympia Snowe vote in the Senate Finance Committee: “The best way to move forward is to include a public option with the opt-out provision for states,” Mr. Reid, of Nevada, said at a news conference. “I believe that a public option can achieve the goal of bringing meaningful reform to our broken system. It is not clear that Mr. Reid has the 60 votes he would need just to bring the bill to the Senate floor if it includes the public insurance plan. Senate aides said Monday that Mr.
By now you've heard the news: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will be including an "opt-out" variation on the public plan in the health care bill he brings to the Senate floor. It is not a full public option. It will not use reimbursements pegged to Medicare. As Ezra Klein says, it is still a major compromise for liberals. And yet it's also a lot more than liberals seemed likely to get, as recently as a few weeks ago. Indeed, it is hard to overstate what a turnaround this is--or how quickly it happened.
Many liberals are hailing Senate Majority leader Harry Reid’s decision to pick the opt-out version of the public option over the trigger as a progressive victory. Representative Lynn Woolsey, co-chair of the House Progressive Caucus agrees--and thinks there’s no reason the House shouldn’t go even farther, and include a strong public option in its bill. Of course, we already know the House bill will be stronger than even the version that Reid endorsed today. It will be a national plan, with all states participating from the start.
Is it curtains for the strong public option? Over the past week, the White House has taken a lot of heat for not going to bat for it, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has reportedly just decided that the Senate bill will include a watered-down proposal that would allow states to opt out of a national public plan.
As political pressure has reduced the price tag of expanding coverage to below $1 trillion over ten years, many observers assumed Democrats would react by trimming financial assistance for the middle class--that is, people making between twice and four times the poverty line, or between $44,000 to $88,000 for a family of four. The assumption was that if Democrats had to make tough choices about what to cut, they'd protect the the poor and most vulnerable.
After a weekend of furious activity, Democratic leaders in the Senate think they are close to getting the votes they need in order to pass an "opt-out" version of the public option. But they feel like President Obama could be doing more to help them, with one senior staffer telling TNR on Sunday that the leadership would like, but has yet to receive, a clear "signal" of support for their effort. The White House, for its part, says President Obama supports a strong public option, as he always has--and that, as one senior administration official puts it, the president will support the Senate le
The House is still deliberating between two versions of the public option, as Cohn laid out earlier: a stronger version that would tie public option pay rates to Medicare “plus 5” percentage points, and a weaker version that would have negotiated rates, but also separately raise Medicaid eligibility from 133% to 150% percent above the poverty line to save money.