Pelosi to Unveil Bill With Weaker Public Option

Liberals suck it up as plan tied to Medicare rates lacks votes
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 29, 2009 7:12 AM CDT
President Barack Obama, accompanied by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., waves as he leaves the Rotunda on Capitol Hill in Washington, Oct. 28, 2009.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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(Newser) – Nancy Pelosi will unveil her long-awaited version of the health care reform bill today, but it won’t include the top item on liberals’ wish list: a public option with rates tied to Medicare. Instead, the bill contains a weaker version of the government-run plan that would let doctors negotiate their rates. Pelosi concluded she didn’t have the votes for the so-called “robust” option.

Liberals managed to keep their chins up. “I would have preferred the other way, but we’re looking at this bill holistically,” Massachusetts Rep. Jim McGovern tells Politico. The robust plan was realistically mostly a bargaining chip for Senate negotiations, and many say it’s less important now that Harry Reid’s committed to including a public plan in his bill. “They did everything possible,” says New York Rep. Jerry Nadler. “There’s no sense pushing back for something that can’t be done.” (Read more public option stories.)