Pelosi Whipping House Health Care Plan–Including Robust Public Option

Congressional Quarterly/Newscom

As I reported last night, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is making a concerted push to pass a health care bill with a robust public option. In previous weeks, Pelosi maintained that House health care principals were still hashing out whether the public option in the bill would pay providers Medicare-like reimbursement rates, or whether those rates would be negotiated by administrators.

But a favorable CBO report seems to have settled all that, and Pelosi’s decided to go all in for a public option.

House Majority Whip James Clyburn’s operation will be in full swing today, rounding up the last of the 218 votes needed for passage. Rural Democrats and some Blue Dogs are not likely pleased, and many will surely oppose the bill–we’ll be keeping an eye on their actions today.The House bill now chimes in well below $900 billion–President Obama’s red line–and is deficit neutral over a 10 year window. Still unclear is whether, like the Senate Finance Committee plan, the plan reduces the deficit in the long term, but those details will hopefully be available soon. The Finance package includes an excise tax on so-called Cadillac health insurance policies, which does a good job at “bending the curve” of health care spending. But that financing plan is controversial with many Democrats and could be changed.


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