Update--public option not in White House health care proposal
: Just in case there was any doubt about the White House and the public option, a public option is not included
in their draft health reform compromise proposal.
Fri Feb 19, 2010 at 14:00
By the end of next week, the health reform process will either start moving again, or it really will be dead for another decade or so.
With 38-39 Senators open to reconciliation, and probably several more who simply have not returned out calls at this point, the Senate appears very close to having enough votes to pass a health reform "fix" through reconciliation. The White House provides more evidence for such speculation, given that they are now drafting a health reform bill that can be passed through reconciliation:
President Obama will put forward comprehensive health care legislation intended to bridge differences between Senate and House Democrats ahead of a summit meeting with Republicans next week, senior administration officials and Congressional aides said Thursday.
Democratic officials said the president's proposal was being written so that it could be attached to a budget bill as a way of averting a Republican filibuster in the Senate. The procedure, known as budget reconciliation, would let Democrats advance the bill with a simple majority rather than a 60-vote supermajority.
The push for a reconciliation "fix" will likely come to a head next week. Here is how:
- The White House will likely post their draft compromise bill on Monday.
- When Congress is back in session, on either Tuesday or Wednesday we will be able to get statements from enough Senators on using reconciliation to prove that health reform can be finished that way.
- On Wednesday and Thursday, progressive advocacy groups will unleash a lot of activism on behalf of passing health care.
- On Thursday, The bi-partisan summit will take place, putting health care at the top of the news cycle, and likely making Republicans look bad.
Combined, all of this can, and needs to, bring health reform negotiations to a head. If the legislative wheels don't start moving again after a push of this size, it seems very unlikely to me that any health reform legislation will pass in 2010. This is likely the last, big push.
Does the public option have a chance? The White House has indicated it is open to including a public option if the Senate puts one in the bill. However, other reports indicate that the White House is not thrilled with the public option revival.
Either way, it doesn't sound like the White House is going to push for the public option itself. That is not a surprise. Speaker Pelosi said as much about the White House two weeks ago.
So, to get a public option in reconciliation, the work is going to have to be done in the Senate. The current best-case scenario would have 29 Democratic Senators in favor of a public option via reconciliation. A stricter whip count puts that number at 18. Either way, that is a lot of ground to make up in a short period of time. So, if it is going to happen, you need to contact an undecided Democratic Senator today.
Update--public option not in White House health care proposal: Just in case there was any doubt about the White House and the public option, a public option is not included in their draft health reform compromise proposal.
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