Beneath breathtaking headlines, a number of news outlets are reporting this morning that House Democrats will include a public insurance option in the health care reform bill they’ll bring to the floor.
The mystery is why this is news, other than we now have a bill to talk about.
For months, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has declared her support for the public option and promised to include it in the chamber’s final bill. Those pronouncements began at the start of the health care debate, and endured even through August when polls showed public support for that provision slipping dramatically.
Under the agreement being brought to the floor, Pelosi abandoned the idea of pegging public plan rates to those of Medicare — a provision being pushed by liberals, but opposed by rural lawmakers who say Medicare already pays too little in their regions.
That’s something of a concession, though it was never in doubt whether Pelosi would include a strong public plan in some form.