3:15 PM Reid Presser: Expected To Announce Senate Federalist Public Option

So sayeth Greg Sargent:

Senator Harry Reid, who’s huddling with senior aides as we speak, has decided to hold a presser today at 3:15 in the Capitol to announce his decision on what to include in the final health care bill, a senior Senate aide confirms. According to multiple, anonymously sourced reports [. . .] Reid is poised to include a public option with an opt out in the bill.

This should be a great moment for Reid and for supporters of a public option. A few things to watch for: will Reid give himself wiggle room? Will Reid argue the merits of the opt out as giving states the chance to opt out if the program does not work for them? (I strongly believe he should.) What will the White House say in reaction to the expected announcement? Will Dan Pheiffer's words be repeated by Robert Gibbs at the podium after Reid's announcement? Should be interesting to say the least.

Speaking for me only

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    Who will stand next to Reid during the presser? (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by oculus on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 12:05:56 PM EST

    Baucus stood alone.... (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 12:38:08 PM EST
    Hence my question. (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by oculus on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 12:52:39 PM EST
    How come the President's (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by inclusiveheart on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 02:14:03 PM EST
    press conference about Afghanistan is going at about the same time?

    Obama gave a speech to military in FL (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by ChiTownDenny on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 02:51:08 PM EST
    "coincidentally" at the same time as Reid's address on HCR.
    Hey, Obama, 1/2 the party didn't support you as the Dem candidate.  Be careful!  We will withdraw our support quicker than you can say Sarah Palin!  The PO, incremental or otherwise, in non-negotiable.

    Watch for Chuck and Dick (none / 0) (#2)
    by andgarden on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 12:08:22 PM EST
    Baucus? Snowe? (none / 0) (#3)
    by oculus on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 12:09:15 PM EST
    heh (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by andgarden on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 12:13:56 PM EST
    If Baucus is there, run.

    The bill will be sent to the CBO (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by MO Blue on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 12:20:33 PM EST
    for scoring. I will be interested in their projections on the impact of a negotiated rate public option on the cost of premiums and how many people they think will access this option once implemented. Also, of interest will be how and when the states will be able to opt out.

    Wouldn't it be better to call it (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by oculus on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 12:26:03 PM EST
    the "states' rights" public option?

    The Shut The Door On Your Way Out (none / 0) (#7)
    by lilburro on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 12:32:24 PM EST

    Let's hold out for single payer (none / 0) (#11)
    by domer5000 on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 12:47:44 PM EST
    d-day has a post on this (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Anne on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 01:16:53 PM EST
    FDL News Desk:
    UPDATE: Politico suggests that Reid doesn't actually have all the votes for the opt out, and that he's basically daring members of his own caucus to block it.

    Leadership sources tell me that Reid, who spoke with virtually every member of his 60-member caucus this weekend, currently has between 56 and 57 votes for the opt-in, which is being pushed by Sen. Charles Schumer, according to Democratic aides.

    A public option with a delayed "trigger" -- supported by the White House and Maine Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe has between 58 and 59 backers. It could be floated as an alternative if the opt-out measure fails to obtain the 60 votes needed for cloture, sources said.

    First, the story confuses the opt out with the opt in. Second, I find it hard to believe that the Majority Leader or the White House would risk a setback on cloture and the loss of momentum that would entail.

    And raises a couple other issues/elements:

    * The abortion question. This has basically been playing out in the House, where anti-abortion Democrats are threatening to hold up the bill if it "funds abortions," and want to offer an amendment to strip that "funding" out. What these anti-abortion Dems call funding is the subsidies given to low-income people to buy public or private plans on the insurance exchange, some of which could offer reproductive health services in their plans, as 90% of all health plans currently do. In other words, the anti-abortion groups want to dictate to private insurance companies what they can and cannot offer to customers. It would be interesting to see what Reid, a pro-life Dem, would say to such a proposal, and what he offered in the bill he merged for the Senate.

    • Immediate benefits. A story in today's Politico quoted Debbie Stabenow and Chris Dodd pushing for some immediate benefits as a result of the bill. Most of the measures don't go into effect until 2013, and Democrats don't want to spend three years telling constituents they have to wait to see anything from the health care bill, as Republicans denounce it all the while. Among the provisions discussed are senior discounts on brand-name drugs, small business tax credits to purchase insurance, and a "high-risk pool" to help cover the uninsured who have been denied coverage for a pre-existing condition. Will any of these make the Senate bill?

    • Anti-trust. While the House is reportedly planning to include a repeal of the insurance industry's anti-trust exemption in their base bill, Reid has said he would allow an amendment to come to the floor with that language. Has he changed his mind and included it in the bill, thus negating the need to get 60 votes (which is likely to be required for all amendments)?

    • Affordability. The Senate Finance Committee and the HELP Committee took sharply different paths to coverage subsidies for those who qualified for help purchasing insurance. Which version won out in the final bill?

    • Mandates. Word has already leaked that the employer mandate will be shelved, with higher penalties for the "free rider" provision from the SFC. Speculation has been that the employer mandate may have been exchanged for the public option. Also at issue is the individual mandate to buy insurance. That was made weaker by the SFC, so one wonders if those provisions will remain.

    If Reid's looking to twist some arms, I would expect him not to be alone at the podium, so we'll see.

    More details on what Reid may do (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by MO Blue on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 01:31:55 PM EST
    Policy details will likely be scarce, and the draft bill could still change. What goes to CBO will have different options under certain sections of the legislation, and there are conflicting reports that Reid might ask the CBO to send back analyses of other versions of the public option. Though most on the left would prefer it if public option compromises would simply be suffocated of all oxygen, it's also true that if a public option with an opt-out clause is included in the base bill, it will to a great extent shape the the floor debate. (For instance, 60 votes would be required to strip the public option out of the bill.) link

    That really clarifies where we are going on this. :-)


    The very term "anti-abortion Democrat" (5.00 / 2) (#29)
    by Cream City on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 03:38:26 PM EST
    is teeling as to the problems of the party that was willing to do anything to win.  This is the result -- when you encourage candidates to run as Dems who defy the party platform, and they win, why would they go along with their alleged leaders in Congress now?

    Open Left does a process of elimination (none / 0) (#33)
    by magster on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 03:51:57 PM EST
    I just turned off Obama's address (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by ChiTownDenny on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 02:38:07 PM EST
    to the Naval Air Station, Jackonsville.  I find nothing newsworthy about such photo-ops.  On the other hand, was it an attempt to interrupt Reid's address about HCR legislation, and Reid's attempt to include a PO in a Senate bill?  Why did the MSM, or the president, find it necessary to give such an inconsequential speech during the same time as a speech by the Senate Leader about HCR?  Multiple "anonymous" sources, indeed!  
    I'm about to lose it!  

    Sounds like (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 02:41:35 PM EST
    what he used to do to Hillary during the 2008 primaries.  If she won a primary, he'd make sure and give a speech to mute her momentum...It's a campaign strategy, shouldn't be a governing strategy againsta  member of your own party.



    Obama did it again to HRC (none / 0) (#30)
    by Cream City on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 03:39:11 PM EST
    in one of her first speeches as Secretary of State, remember?

    I knew kids like that in high school.


    If a state wants to opt out, does it have to go (2.00 / 1) (#9)
    by steviez314 on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 12:42:48 PM EST
    before a "Tenth Panel"?

    No, but it needs to consult (5.00 / 7) (#10)
    by Fabian on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 12:46:18 PM EST
    with its religious leaders and husbands before it makes such a serious decision.

    Whoot! Wonderful comment (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by Cream City on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 12:58:01 PM EST
    that cracks me up on a rainy day.  Thanks.

    And (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 01:50:42 PM EST
    its doctor.

    Now if there are not 60 votes (none / 0) (#12)
    by magster on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 12:48:16 PM EST
    for cloture, would it go to reconciliation or just die?

    Will Obama chime in? (none / 0) (#17)
    by MO Blue on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 01:41:39 PM EST
    But Obama himself is unlikely to chime in for several days. He's meeting with his national security team about whether to send more troops to Afghanistan, then heading to Florida for a meeting with troops.

    Tonight Obama will headline a Democratic fundraiser where he's likely to continue outlining his administration's accomplishments thus far, reminding activists change doesn't come easy and asking people to keep fighting.

    Tomorrow the president does an event related to energy before heading to Virginia for a big campaign rally with gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds.

    So that means unless his schedule changes, Obama probably won't be weighing in loudly on health care negotiations until at the earliest Wednesday link

    Why Aren't You Covering (none / 0) (#22)
    by kaleidescope on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 02:44:07 PM EST
    What Ezra Klein has to say about this?  He must be dismayed.

    I don't have TV on (none / 0) (#23)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 02:47:53 PM EST
    Any specifics about the public option?  Any option to read the bill?

    Reid - Opt in, No Trigger & co-ops (none / 0) (#24)
    by MO Blue on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 02:49:24 PM EST
    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced what we've been reporting today - the merged health care bill will include a public option allowing states to opt-out.
    Reid (D-NV) said after "countless hours" of talking to his caucus, there is a "strong consensus" for this plan. He said he will not submit a plan with a triggered public option to the Congressional Budget Office.
    He also said "there will be a co-op in this bill."

    I would really like clarification on what exactly Reid means by "there will be a co-op in this bill."

    Is the exchange going to include a co-opt as well as an opt out public option or are they going with Carper's interpretation of a public option?

    "I think at the end of the day there will be a national plan probably put together not by the federal government but by a non-profit board with some seed money from the federal government that states would initially participate in because of lack of affordability. The question is should there be an opportunity for states to opt out later on and if so, within a year, within two years, within three years?"

    How would this plan work? "Among the things that's important," Carper said, "is, one, that this not be a government run, government funded enterprise, two, that there be a level playing field so that this non-profit entity that would be stood up would have to play by same rules basically as for-profit insurance companies--the idea that secretary of Health and Human Services [will be] running or directing the operation of this--no way.

    White House sez: Public Option Too Small (none / 0) (#26)
    by Dan the Man on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 02:55:12 PM EST
    and that's why it's not that important

    "The White House and centrist and conservative Democrats have been frustrated by liberals' strong demand for it, arguing that there is much more to health care than simply the public option and that only 10 to 12 million would be eligible to participate in it. Over the summer, Obama called it a mere "sliver" of reform."

    The Trojan Horse (none / 0) (#27)
    by eric on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 03:02:58 PM EST
    was very small, too.

    No it wasn't! (none / 0) (#31)
    by Steve M on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 03:39:33 PM EST
    There were like 40 soldiers hidden in that thing.

    Heh (none / 0) (#35)
    by eric on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 03:56:01 PM EST
    was it that many?

    What's the record for (none / 0) (#40)
    by Inspector Gadget on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 04:46:07 PM EST
    how many people in a VW bug? People were very little back then, the horse didn't have to be huge :)

    Well (none / 0) (#42)
    by Steve M on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 05:28:36 PM EST
    I wasn't there personally, but 40 seems to be the general consensus.  I'm pretty sure it wasn't 3 midgets and a weiner dog!

    Wiki says the no. became (none / 0) (#43)
    by oculus on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 05:38:33 PM EST
    "standardized" at 40 and lists the names!

    Trojan Horse


    The plan (none / 0) (#45)
    by eric on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 08:22:37 PM EST
    probably only required one or two - to open the gate.  I suppose the Greeks might have thought they would encounter some resistance, so they wanted a small fighting force.

    Or, perhaps, they all knew of the great glory that would follow and wanted to be able to say, "I was in that horse!"


    And yet... (none / 0) (#32)
    by sj on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 03:40:03 PM EST
    The article also says

    The public option's inclusion in the final bill would be one of the most significant progressive legislative achievements since the Great Society.

    Now that's an overstatement, but maybe the camel's nose is bigger than I thought.


    Overstatement? (none / 0) (#39)
    by christinep on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 04:18:49 PM EST
    I don't know, but I do believe that you may understate the size of the camel's nose as well as that wonderful creature's girth & power.  Seriously, and thinking back over major legislation over the past several decades, the advances already known to be included in the type of bill which Senator Reid supports are quite important by comparison to years of nothing, very small no-footprint steps, and the rest.  Even since the battle in 1993-94, most have coalesced around the drive to rid insurance companies of the lifetime $ caps and the inhumane pre-existing conditions proviso and the termination without notice practice. Traversing the mockery that insurance companies made of healthcare may now seem like a natural outcome...but, it wasn't. (Just talk with anyone who suffered from or had a family member afflicted with a serious or lengthy or chronic disease.) Now, to move toward opening up the marketplace and beyond to a more competitive environment that only a public option would bring.... Well, it IS something.  For one thing, the old scare cries of "socialism" "boo big government" are obviously losing the sway/power that that tactic once held. Yes, it is incremental.  But, please look over the history and reports of the last 60 years to recognize the scope of what is happening and please think about those of us who are travelled a lot of the way and are finally starting to savor that potential.  And, finally, yes (I know) there is a long and curving road ahead still.

    I think it's too early (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by sj on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 05:15:37 PM EST
    to know the scope of what is happening.

    But we agree that it IS something.  I think I'll just wait to see exactly what.


    One question ;) (none / 0) (#44)
    by nycstray on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 06:41:34 PM EST
    I don't know, but I do believe that you may understate the size of the camel's nose as well as that wonderful creature's girth & power.

    Is it an adult camel, or a newborn baby? Wobbly legs and all ;)


    Stand by our man? (none / 0) (#28)
    by MyLeftMind on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 03:38:18 PM EST
    MoveOn has finally decided to take a stand against Obama's wishy-washy inaction. They're asking people to submit photo petitions to them asking Obama to reject the trigger mechanism that could indefinitely delay or kill the public option.

    We need to remind the President that we fought to elect him--and now it's time for him to fight for us.

    The only way for Obama to be the hero so many of us are hoping for is if we make it clear what we want and then demand it from him. Blindly trusting our leaders to do what's right by us is a recipe for failure. When we can still question authority, even when it's our team in the WH and Congress, we'll be doing our jobs as Americans and creating a better future.  

    I'm not looking for Obama to be a hero, (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by Anne on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 03:53:04 PM EST
    nor is it my goal to make him one; the only reason Obama could possibly have for not hearing the enormous chorus of voices clamoring for real reform is that he hasn't been listening.

    Plenty of us have been questioning authority all along, and taken a lot of cr@p from people who have a serious case of hero-worship; it's long past time for Obama to fight for what is right, for what the people want, but as long as he is bought and paid for by corporate interests with an unlimited bank account, it won't be our voices he hears.


    I want Obama to be a hero (none / 0) (#38)
    by MyLeftMind on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 04:06:51 PM EST
    simply because if he is, and if he actually does right by us, our progressive agenda has much more political clout.  If we create a united, intelligent front that expects and demands that Obama and the Dems give us true reform, I believe we'll not only get it, but our Prez will get over this false compromising nonsense he pulls on every issue.

    Bloggers are questioning the "Insurance Industry Profit Protection and Enhancement Act," but out in the regular world, most Democrats are assuming he'll do right by us.  They haven't read the bill, they're barely following the debates and if you criticize Obama on this, you're considered a Republican or called racist.  

    It's always harder to criticize the guy you helped elect.  


    Is Reid saying this because it's safe (none / 0) (#36)
    by Cream City on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 03:58:13 PM EST
    for him to look like the hero -- because Pelosi now doesn't have the House votes for the best bill?  (D*mn that so-called Progressive Caucus.)

    From wisopinion.com:

    Baldwin: Robust public option may not have the votes  (10/26/2009)

    U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin is still fighting for a strong public insurance option, even as national reports surface that a "robust" option does not have the votes.  Baldwin met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and other caucus members Thursday to discuss the legislation; Pelosi determined after the meeting that she couldn't pass the most aggressive version of a public option that House Dems have been considering.

    Baldwin said Pelosi is weighing two options. One is called the "robust" option that would compensate at the rate of Medicare plus 5 percent, while the other would negotiate those rates with physicians. The latter option is similar to a plan passed by a Senate committee.

    The cost difference in the two plans is about $80 billion over 10 years, Baldwin said.  "If we do not go with the robust option in order to pay for the bill, we have to figure out either other revenue streams or other cuts, and those are very difficult choices," she said.

    So comrades, come rally (none / 0) (#37)
    by NealB on Mon Oct 26, 2009 at 03:59:34 PM EST
    And the last fight let us face....