Behind The Scenes, Pelosi Pushing Strong Public Option With House Democrats


At a caucus meeting last night, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sang the praises of a robust public option as both a policy tool and a negotiating tool.

“The savings [in the Baucus bill] come off the backs of the middle class,” Pelosi told Democrats, according to The Hill. “This is why we need a strong public option going into conference with the Senate.”The news comes in contrast to a Wednesday report that Pelosi had floated a more modest public option in a separate meeting with rank and file Democrats.

Ultimately, though, the decision about what kind of plan the House settles on will come after the CBO projects the savings potentials of three different species of public option. Experts expect that a public option that pays providers Medicare rates plus 5 percent would generate significantly greater savings than would a public option whose administrator had to negotiate rates with providers.


Brian Beutler is TPM’s senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he’s led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at