Public Option: Back From The Dead

Ken AshfordHealth CareLeave a Comment

In case you haven't heard, the "public option" which many (including me) lamented as "dead" only a few weeks ago, appears to be quite alive.  The Senate Finance Committee health care reform bill (the only one to come out of the Senate — there are several in the House), lacked the public option.  Even after it came out of committee, it didn't look like Democratic leaders in the Senate would push for the public option.

But Senate Majority leader Harry Reid surprised everyone last night by siding with the liberal democrats, and coming out for a public option.  The catch?  States could "opt out", if they wanted.

It's really not a "catch" at all, in my view.  I doubt that most state would choose to "opt out", and those that do (deeply conservative states, I suspect) will eventually regret it, and come back into the fold after 5-10 years.

Good news.

UPDATE:  Joe Lieberman is going to back a filibuster of the Senate bill.  Note, he's not merely opposing it — he's going to side with Republicans in blocking the bill to even come to a vote.  Can't believe this guy used to be a Democrat.  Steven Benen has some good observations about the ramifications of Lieberman's decision.