White House staffers leaked a story that they’re negotiating with Snowe on a plan to phase in the public option if the private insurers don’t cut prices. This is an effort to gauge reaction to the notion of House Democrats voting for an immediate public option in the original bill but accepting a delay in conference. Personally I think it’s absurd – too complicated, and people want an answer NOW.
Flying long next to that trial balloon is another: that the public option wouldn’t go into effect for two years.
According to the Post, the White House is split into two camps. One still wants a universal plan, the other wants to cover only 20 million people instead of 40 million. Both would offer less than the plans now under consideration in Congress. The Post says Snowe is afraid to be the only Republican to vote for the bill. The Post also states that the reconciliation process would go through Kent Conrad’s Budget committee (so the numbers must add up).
News reports say that even after the endless GOP attacks, the Blue Dogs still want to pass health care and think it’s doable. So they haven’t bailed out.