A Public Option is found in the House Reconciliation bill released yesterday. Section 221 on page 1167 is titled: Subtitle B — Public Health Insurance Option – Establishment and Administration of a Public Health Insurance Option as an Exchange-Qualified Health Benefits Plan…unless that title doesn’t mean what it says:
(a) Establishment. — For years beginning with Y1, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (in this sub-title referred to as the “Secretary”) shall provide for the offering of an Exhange-participating health benefits plan (in this subdivision referred to as the “public health insurance option“) that ensures choice, competition, and stability of affordable, high quality coverage throughout the United States in accordance with this subtitle. In designing the option, the Secretary’s primary responsibility is to create a low-cost plan without compromising quality or access to care.
In the meantime, Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) sent a letter to uber Liberal senators, Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) and Jeff Merkly (D-Ore) saying there will be an opportunity to vote on a public option in “coming months,”…but a public option is already in the House Reconciliation bill.
If I understand the process correctly, once the Senate bill is passed or “deemed” to be passed and sent to President Obama, and he signs it, we then have the Senate Health Care bill as the law of the land. Then the Senate takes up work on the reconciliation bill which will need only a 50+1 vote to pass, rather than a super-majority vote of 60.
Every vote cast for health care in general, and/or the reconciliation bill, is a vote for a public option as soon as Democrats can get it done – if not now, later, but single payer is the battle cry. My apologies if Public Health Insurance Option does not mean Public Health Insurance Option.