Breaking: Public Option in House Reconciliation Bill

This afternoon the House Budget Committee reported The Reconciliation Act of 2010 to the House of Representatives by a vote of 21 yays to 16 nays.  Included in the release is a Public Health Insurance Option on page 116.

The Public Option appears to have made it into the last incarnation of a reconciliation bill in the US House.  There has been immense pressure for 10 months over this component to health care reform, with those on the right comparing to socialized medicine and those on the left considering their fall back position, their line in the sand.

On page 116 of the document, released in pdf form and available for everyone to read on the budget.house.gov website, it reads:

Subtitle B- Public Health Insurance Option

Section 221. Establishment and Administration of a Public Health Insurance Option as an Exchange-Qualified Health Benefits Plan.

(a) Establishment – For years beginning with Y1, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall provide for the offering of an Exchange-participating health benefits plan 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 of access to care.

(b) Offering as an Exchange-Participating Health Benefits Plan.

1. The public health insurance option shall only be made available through the Health Insurance Exchange.
2. The Public Option shall ensure a level playing field.
3. The public Option shall offer basic, enhanced, and premium plans.

Soon after, it continues:

Section 222. Premiums and Financing
(a) (1) The Secretary shall establish geographically-adjusted premium rates for the public option.

If this is correct, that would translate into a version of the Public Option where prices would not be dictated by the very health insurance corporations who have jacked up prices over and over over the last decade.  Premiums have shot up 90% since Bush was elected in 2000.  Last year, the profits of the top 5 giants (Wellpoint, UnitedHealth, Cigna, Aetna, and Humana) rose by 56%.  The cost of health insurance is projected to nearly double again by 2020 with the lack of real reform.  To protect their scheme, these corporations have fought hard to preserve their hold on highly consolidated markets, and keep any version of a Public Option out of the plan.

Whether or not there are the necessary votes to pass the reconciliation bill are a matter of some debate.  Never the less, the inclusion of a Public Health Insurance Option certainly seems to be a big win for reformers.

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21 Responses to Breaking: Public Option in House Reconciliation Bill

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    Vote -1 Vote +1uberVU - social comments

  2. -4 Vote -1 Vote +1IIJONES
    March 16, 2010 at 1:46 am

    MAKE IT SO DEMOCRATS!
    BRING IT HOME…..SHOW ME THE PARTY I CAMPAIGNED FOR…THE PARTY OF MY MOM…WHO DIED LAST JULY….I’M SORRY SHE ISN’T HERE TO SEE THIS !

  3. Vote -1 Vote +1Alan Paradis
    March 16, 2010 at 6:02 am

    This is not the last incarnation of a reconciliation bill in the US House. It’s just a procedure, a previous incarnation being used like a template. The plan is to substitute a new bill for the entire content of this one. We will need a new amendment introduced to put a public option back in. It’s convoluted I know, but it was a way to move things forward.

    • +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Chad Lupkes
      March 16, 2010 at 11:03 am

      Ah hell. I guess it’s not over until the gavel comes down.

  4. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Mel N
    March 16, 2010 at 6:50 am

    Spell Check. Bush was not elected in 200.

    • +13 Vote -1 Vote +1terrabyte
      March 16, 2010 at 7:09 am

      He wasn’t elected in 2000 either.

      • +5 Vote -1 Vote +1mike
        March 16, 2010 at 8:36 am

        ZING!

      • Vote -1 Vote +1dagobert
        March 16, 2010 at 10:06 am

        or in 2004, but since when did it matter who got the most votes anyhow?

        • Vote -1 Vote +1bob
          March 16, 2010 at 12:02 pm

          It never did. The electoral college…it’s in the constitution.

          Please read it.

      • Vote -1 Vote +1cyclopteterragriffon
        March 16, 2010 at 12:19 pm

        DAAAAMN! YOU GO GIRL!

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  6. -3 Vote -1 Vote +1Lou Davis
    March 16, 2010 at 8:24 am

    Do those folks really think waving those silly signs is going to make any difference?

    Lou
    http://www.fbi-watching.se.tc

    • +1 Vote -1 Vote +1nikolai
      March 16, 2010 at 1:07 pm

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  7. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Dara
    March 16, 2010 at 10:32 am

    YAY!!!!! about friggin time…still not universal care but it’s a step in the right direction

  8. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1rebelle
    March 16, 2010 at 10:42 am

    without the public option it’s useless. The insurance industry and pharmaceuticals would still be calling ALL the shots! The insurance industry is against the public option for a reason retardicans, it means less profits for them and an option with a lower cost for the same coverage!

  9. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1matt
    March 16, 2010 at 11:59 am

    Just vote for public option no matter what! We all support public option.. And the whiners and nay-sayers on the side of the court should hush hush up… Since when do these folks care? They don’t, they’re just blowing hot air out because someone asked their opinion.. high time we stopped asking their opinion because it is killing people every day. I called my Congressman, David Wu from Oregon and he supports public option. Call your representative and get this going!

  10. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1john c
    March 16, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    Isn’t this language just defining the co-op or health exchange? I don’t think this is THE public option, but I’d be happy to be proven wrong…

  11. -4 Vote -1 Vote +1John
    March 16, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    There is no such thing as a free lunch. The public option will be able to pass cost increases to the tax payer. Private insurance companies will go out of business. Then we will have public only insurance. Eventually cost increases will not be able to be passed on to the tax payers. So government will be forced to reduce benefits. Long lines, denial based on pre-existing conditions. The only solution is the elimination of all insurance: public and private…except catastrophic. In ten years, we will be again confronted with reform.

    • +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Doug
      March 16, 2010 at 4:52 pm

      John,

      Whatever. The taxpayers will NEVER pay the government $290, 000, 000, 000 in PROFITS (like we paid the Insurance companies in 2009).

  12. Vote -1 Vote +1James
    March 16, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    Public option is the way to go, says this RN…

  13. Vote -1 Vote +1Grace
    March 19, 2010 at 7:59 am

    Social security: bankrupt. Medicare: bankrupt. Medicaid: bankrupt.

    And we’re to believe that this Public Option won’t go south?