At least, so quoth Harry Reid.
Lemme say that again:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Monday that he intends to move forward with a health care bill including a public insurance option allowing states to opt out.
Reid, a Nevada Democrat, has been melding legislation from the more conservative Senate Finance Committee and the more liberal Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. The Health Committee included a form of the public option in its bill; the Finance Committee did not.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has insisted that the House of Representatives will pass a health care reform bill including a public option.
Nate Silver has an excellent take on the reasons why the public option – despite the bull-crappery of the conservadems (Baucus, Conrad, Landrieu, Bingaman, etc.) – was included in the final version of the Senate bill. His #1 reason — even higher than the CBO scoring it as deficit-negative? The concerted, sustained pressure of progressive and liberal health care reform groups. Way to go, gang.
This public option is, of course, the “opt-out” variety. That’s due to the fact that the Obama administration abandoned single-payer (and, by extension, prospects for a robust public option) at the start of the negotiations. But even though we’d all have liked to have a straight-up, no-excuses public option, this is unquestionably a victory. Why? Because it forces the Republicans (and any conservadems who want to follow in their obstructionist footsteps) to go back to their own districts and actually attempt to sell their constituents, during campaign season, on the notion that they don’t want health care; don’t want a public option. Good luck with that, GoOPers. ;-P