Health Reform Update: Public Option Vote Expected Tuesday in Senate Finance Committee

NYT reports Sen. Reid won't include public option in bill presented to full Senate: "Democratic aides said that while the combined legislation would not have the public option, they expected that liberals would push amendments to add it on the Senate floor." The Plum Line to seek confirmation from Reid's office later today.

Reid supports "trigger" compromise in Las Vegas Sun interview: "'My first choice is a public option, because I think it will create competition and make the insurance companies more honest,' Reid said Thursday. 'My No. 2 choice is the trigger that Snowe talked about.' Reid said that he preferred the trigger, 'which is a pretty doggone good idea,' to the proposed co-operative model some moderate Democrats support." Walker Report notes Bill Clinton endorsed trigger deal as well.

Public option vote expected in Senate Finance Committee tomorrow, not expected to pass, but could still build momentum. The Hill: "Rockefeller, Schumer and likeminded liberal senators begrudgingly acknowledge the votes are not there in the committee for the public option. But they intend to force their colleagues to take a stand on the issue and possibly face the wrath of powerful interests such as labor unions and grassroots liberal activists ... More votes on the public option are promised once the bill hits the Senate floor."

Insurance lobby wants tougher penalties to enforce individual mandate, ensure they get all potential new customers. WSJ: "Mr. Baucus ... proposed reducing a fine he originally proposed for uninsured Americans who fail to comply with the mandate. That raises the possibility that some healthy Americans will do the math and conclude that it is cheaper to remain uninsured -- paying the fine and avoiding the coverage premiums. Heath insurers are trying to forestall that possibility, warning that uninsured people could wait until they got sick to purchase coverage, driving up the costs for people who have insurance. The industry's lobbying group, America's Health Insurance Plans, said the original mandate envisioned was already too weak."


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