The Waiting Room
Here’s a brief summary of the day’s health care news.
The Obama administration continues its push to drum up support for health reform. Vice President Biden is trying to tie the success of the stimulus to the need for a better health care system. And the White House circulated a memo that highlights opinion polls favorable to reform. But most of these polls also showed strong support for a public option, and the memo has omitted these numbers altogether. President Obama’s walk-back of his advocacy for a public option has House progressives concerned, and today he held a conference call with some of them to try to forge a compromise. It could be tough going; the single-payer advocate Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) says the public option will die if Obama doesn’t explicitly back it in his speech to Congress next week.
Meanwhile, moderate Democrats are holding their cards close to the chest. Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) says that a public option would cause health care legislation to “implode” — but he doesn’t state his own stance on the issue or acknowledge his power to shift the debate. And Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) issued a statement after the first post-recess Gang of Six meeting (via teleconference) that revealed … absolutely nothing. But a source tells The New York Times that Baucus indicated he’ll propose legislation as soon as tomorrow.