In it, but not of it. TPM DC

If Public Option Isn't Dead, Why Is Axelrod Referring to Its "Spirit"?


A critical number of House progressives have vowed not to support a health care bill without a public option, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi has affirmed that she can't pass legislation without one.

But if the White House and Senate are unified behind the idea that the public option is itself optional, it will dramatically shift the weight of the fight against including one.

All of this is assuming that Democrats don't try to pass a bill on their own, through the so-called budget reconciliation process. As we detailed yesterday, the reconciliation option might in some ways make creating a more robust public option more likely--but it's hard to imagine vulnerable and skeptical Dems going to bat for a public option in that context if the White House isn't willing to put up a fight.

About The Author


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