NASE Blogs

Senate Weighing Public Option

Oct 26, 2009
Posted by Molly Nelson - After Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told President Obama last week that he would try to press for the inclusion of a government-run insurance program in health care reform legislation, some Democratic senators expressed optimism that Congress would pass a health care bill that contained some form of a "public option". 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has previously stated that the House version of health care legislation would include the public option.  However, some in the Senate have in the past said that finding the 60 votes needed to guarantee that the legislation would not be blocked by an expected Republican filibuster would not be easy. 

For some senators, the question is what the public option would look like.  Some of the options that could pass include a robust government-run insurance plan, a "trigger" provision in which a public plan would be created if insurance companies failed to cut costs within a specific time frame, or a measure that would allow states the choice to "opt in" to a federal government plan.

Many Republican senators, however, are continuing their criticism of the public option, with Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) stating that "100 percent of Republicans have indicated that they don’t think having government in the insurance business is a good idea."

Update: According to CNN, Sen. Reid announced that he plans to move forward with health care legislation that includes a public insurance option allowing states to opt out.

[Hat tip: New York Times]