Pelosi moves to center on public option

by Mike Soraghan and Jared Allen
October 1, 2009

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is shifting to the center on a government-run public health insurance plan, warming to a version that is being supported by some Blue Dog Democrats.

Pelosi’s recent public statements and private conversations indicate her willingness to move away from the more liberal proposal, which she had been promoting as being more cost-effective. The centrist view was negotiated with Blue Dogs to move the bill out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Liberals want a public option that is tied to Medicare rates plus 5 percent. Blue Dogs and other centrist Democrats want rates to be negotiated individually with providers…

…In a sign of that trouble, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) announced Thursday that there won’t be a floor vote on the healthcare bill in the next two weeks.

Centrists, including many Blue Dogs, would prefer that if there is a public option in the healthcare bill, it be based on negotiated rates. Many of those members come from rural districts and feel that Medicare rates already shortchange providers.

The Energy and Commerce panel adopted the negotiated-rates version as a way to overcome the objection of several Blue Dog Democrats about Medicare rates and other issues.

Pelosi has said there will be a public option in the House bill. She has ruled out cooperatives and a so-called “trigger” fallback option…

The rest of the article is here.

See also our blog entries about the Blue Dog Democrats.

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