Pelosi to Go With Not-So-Robust Public Option

The public option was always a compromise for serious supporters of health-care reform, who -- like Barack Obama when he was running for the Senate in 2003 -- knew that a single-payer "Medicare for All" system was what America needed to provide health care to everyone while controlling costs.


But, in the reform legislation that will be debuted Thursday by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the compromise will be even more compromised.

According to The New York Times:

Under pressure from moderate-to-conservative members of the House Democratic caucus, Speaker Nancy Pelosi has decided to propose a government-run insurance plan that would negotiate rates with doctors and hospitals, rather than using prices set by the government, aides said Wednesday.

Ms. Pelosi said the public plan, which she prefers to call a "consumer option," would compete with private insurers. But the speaker was apparently unable to muster the votes needed for the "robust" liberal version of a public plan, which she has repeatedly said would save more money for consumers and the government.

Translation: The "public option" Pelosi and her team will not make payments based on Medicare rates. It will, instead, be forced to negotiate rates with doctors and hospitals, as private insurers do. That weakens the flexibility and muscle of the public option.

Pelosi's plan also drops a number of provisions that had been advanced at the committee level to promote consideration of "Medicare for All" models and to allow states to experiment with single-payer plans.

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