Health Care

Public Option in Reid, Pelosi Bills

The public option is officially on the table in both House and Senate, but the battle isn't over. On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will unveil her health-care reform bill, which includes a public option. The speaker has likely included the public option plan favored by moderates, in which federal health officials and health care providers will negotiate reimbursement rates, rather than basing reimbursement to providers on Medicare, which would potentially ruin doctors and hospitals in some districts. Under Pelosi's probable plan, Medicaid eligibility rates are raised to 150 percent of the federal poverty level in order to cover more of the poor under that plan, saving money and helping meet President Obama's cap of $900 billion for the plan over 10 years. However, long-standing disputes over whether the government will fund abortions or allow illegal immigrants to receive benefits have not been resolved. For his part, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has made major concessions to liberals in his caucus, and his bill includes a public option with an opt-out clause for states that don't want to participate.