Harry Reid Announces Senate Bill Will Include Public Option With “Opt Out” Option For States

Hmmm.  The buzz on the Sunday news shows was that the “trigger” plan was the direction that Reid was heading, but today he announced that a public option with an “opt out” provision for states will be included in the Senate version of the bill.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Monday that a version of government-backed health insurance that allows states to opt out will be included in the health care reform bill he plans to bring to the Senate floor.

The compromise measure was one of a host of different so-called public options being considered in the Senate. Though the public option seemed off the table in the chamber just one month ago, it gained traction in recent weeks as Democratic leaders floated measures meant to be more appealing to party moderates.

The “opt out” proposal would set up a national insurance plan with government seed money and be run by a private, not-for-profit board. Under the proposal, states would have to prove they can provide comparable coverage in order to exit out of the federal plan. The plan would also negotiate rates with providers just like private insurance companies do, presumably keeping premiums on a level playing field with the private industry.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is pushing a more robust version of the public plan, which would be based on Medicare rates and in turn provide for cheaper premiums. Pelosi reportedly does not yet have the votes in her caucus to pass that version.

From what I understand – and since there has all taken place behind closed doors contrary to Bammy’s promise – states wouldn’t be able to exercise their “opt out” right for four years after the bill goes into effect.

The big questions now are:  Will this be good enough for the Progressives?  Will it be too much for the Blue Dogs?  Will Olympia Snowe be the spoiler?

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One thought on “Harry Reid Announces Senate Bill Will Include Public Option With “Opt Out” Option For States

  1. I’ve just posted on the alternatives…with respect to federalism. …a different angle, huh? If you want to have a look, here is the link. I would argue that the consideration of health-care insurance reform alternatives ought to include an assessment of how consistent each is with federalism, for if we focus narrowly on the issue of the day without pausing to consider the impact on our system of governance, we will be unintentionally passing on a less perfect Union to our descendents. If you are interested in my attempt, pls see http://euandus3.wordpress.com/2009/10/27/health-care-insurance-reform-a-spectrum-of-alternatives-with-respect-to-federalism/

    You might also be interested in this NYT article:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/27/health/policy/27health.html?_r=1&hp

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