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Pelosi Prepares To Move Ahead With Robust Public Option


The move is sure to make progressives ecstatic, and puts Senate leaders, who have been unable to reach any decisions about their preferences for a public option in their own bill, in an uncomfortable position.

In recent days, Pelosi has insisted that she intends to send House negotiators to a health care conference committee with the maximum possible leverage for the public option. And House health care principals have been working doggedly to keep the price of reform down with the help of the public option--so in a sense, the news of this final push comes as little surprise: Pelosi is, as expected, using the fiscal responsibility of the robust public option to win over enough skeptics in her caucus to pass it. And she is, reportedly, very close to doing that.

By tying reimbursement rates to Medicare, the government would be able to spend less money per individual on subsidies in the health insurance exchanges. One of the major critiques of the Senate Finance bill is that the spending totals are kept low by denying subsidies to middle income Americans, and without providing a systemic corrective to insurance industry waste and abuse. In the House bill, greater subsidies, and the public option address that issue.

Edited for clarity

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