A preliminary analysis from CBO may have sealed the deal. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is preparing to move ahead with a "robust" public option--one that reimburses hospitals and providers at Medicare rates, plus five percent--in the House's health care bill. She is briefing her caucus about the plan's savings tonight, and, pending the approval of a sufficient majority of members, will adopt the measure as part of the complete reform package.
The analysis finds the reconstituted House proposal to be deficit neutral, and require about $870 billion in new spending, over ten years.
The bill remains nominally more expensive than the Senate Finance Committee proposal, but would cover 96 percent of all Americans, providing greater bang for each federal dollar spent. And, aides note, the bill that comes to the floor of the Senate will be a hybrid of the Finance and more expensive HELP Committee bills, so the price is expected to rise.
The move is sure to make progressives ecstatic, and puts Senate leaders, who have been unable to reach any decisions about a public option in their own bill, in an uncomfortable position.
Think about how stupid this is for a moment. The House has put together what is sure to be the better bill. It will likely cost less, be deficit neutral, provide coverage to more people and grant more consumer protections. Why in the hell should there even be a debate about what we are going to do going forward? Oh wait, its because a few paid of Democrats in the Senate aren't sure what side they are on. Well as President Obama said this evening, sometimes we are our own worst enemies but let me amend that for him. Right now Harry Reid is our own worst enemy and he had better get his shit together. If he can't find a way to count to 60 with a public option then after next years election we will find someone who knows how to count to 59 and still push through and up and down vote.
It is what it is.