Pelosi Warns: Insurers Will Face a Stronger Public Option if We Go with Triggers

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September 8, 2009 1:40 p.m.
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Here’s a little noticed moment from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s press conference earlier today.

“[T]his, as I say, is the legislative process. And right now, we will have a public option in our bill,” Pelosi said.

But I said it before and I’ll say it again: The health insurance industry, which is out there fighting the public option tooth and nail because it does increase competition, which they don’t want. They’d be better getting a public option now than one that is triggered because if you have a triggered public option, it’s because the insurance industry has demonstrated that they’re not cooperating, they’re not doing the right thing, and I think they’ll have a tougher public option to deal with.

Emphasis mine.

It would be premature to say that this is the deal being hashed out behind the scenes right now. But this seems like a clear warning from Pelosi to insurers–and also a signal to public option skeptics within her own party–that if the House backs a plan to “trigger” the public option, it will only do so if the triggers are affixed to a stronger, more robust public plan. That’s a bit of a tell, I’d say.

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