A source has leaked details to Politico
of what reporters there describe
as a "draft of HELP's likely public option proposal." Here are the key details:
The option would be one of the Gateway choices. It would follow the same rules as private plans for defining benefits, protecting consumers, and setting premiums that are fair and based on local costs....
The payment rates paid by the option would be no more than the local average private rates - but could be less. The Secretary would negotiate these rates.
Initial reports of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions process suggested that the committee's draft would call for a public option that paid providers Medicare rates plus about 10 percent--a robust plan which would have left a wide middle ground on the issue between that committee and the Senate Finance Committee. This leak doesn't rule that configuration out explicitly--but if it's accurate, then the committee's kicking the issue back over to the executive branch, and insisting only that the public plan operate on at least
a level playing field with private insurers.
It's unclear whether this language will please freshman Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC)--the HELP Democrat whose reservations about the public option have forced the committee to modify their plan and delay it's roll out.
Still, the developments on that committee seem to have pleased SEIU president Andy Stern who last night wrote
, "HELP Committee working hard on solid public option," on his Twitter feed.