Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Sky Is Falling...

...when it comes to the public option being included in the new health insurance reform legislation.

Maybe, kinda.

The Senate Finance Committee voted against the inclusion of a public option in it's version of the health insurance reform bill.

The Senate Finance Committee bill is not the only version. The Senate Health Committee bill apparently has the public option in its version and the different Senate versions have to merged. Then, the Senate bill would have to be reconciled with whatever comes out of the House, which is sure to have a public option in it. It's all up to supposed Blue Dog Democrats(conservative Dems) in the Senate. Will there be a vote in the full Senate on a bill that includes a public option? Or would the Blue Dogs join a GOP fillibuster to stop a full vote on a public option bill?

Do I think the final bill will have a public option? I'd say it's 50-50 or worse. If there's no public option in the final bill then I think it's more than likely that the final bill will have a "trigger" provision (if rates don't come down then public option occurs), a health coop provision and a provision that mandates that all people have health insurance. If the final bill does indeed have a "trigger" provision then it'll be interesting to see if rates actually come down. If health insurance rates don't fall then it'll be interesting to see how difficult it will be to pull the "trigger" and actually put a public option into action.

Would Reid and the non-Blue Dog Senate Dems force a show down on the public option and dare the Blue Dog Dems to support a filibuster against their own party?

There's also what's known as the "nuclear" option. The Senate would need to procedurally do away with the filibuster by suspending the rules and allowing a simple 50 vote majority to call for a vote on a final bill that included a public option. Currently, 41 Senators can "filibuster" and block a vote on a bill or other matter by the full Senate. But, it's unlikely. The Senate GOP'ers threatened to use the "nuclear" option when they were in the majority and Dems in the Senate were blocking some W. Bush appointments. However, it's unlikely that Reid and the non-Blue Dog Senate Dems would go that far in my opinion. But, it is an ultimate, last option.

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