Thursday, October 15, 2009

Crunch Time

A few weeks ago, things looked pretty bleak for the public option. But the fight is not over.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi confirmed today that she intends to push for a government-run health insurance program as part of health care reform package currently moving through Congress.

It's not going to be an easy fight. Although Maine Republican Olympia Snowe voted in favor of the Senate Finance Committee's health reform package, that proposal does not include a public option, and Snowe says she won't support a plan that does (though perhaps she should reconsider that position, considering that a strong majority of Maine voters support a public option).

At this point it looks like the best chance for a public option would involve a program administered by the states - Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson, who had not previously voiced support for a public option, said last week that he's open to a state-managed alternative.

Although he's not exactly the guy you want making headlines, and probably won't have much, if any, influence over his colleagues in the Senate, Illinois Senator Roland Burris is demanding a public option. You go, Roland.

Finally, an update on the big baby: Rocky Mountain Health Plans reversed course and said it will no longer categorically deny coverage for overweight infants. This is great news for the Lange family, but the rest of us are still stuck with a system where insurers can make arbitrary decisions to refuse coverage based on a pre-existing condition. Let's fix that: contact your senators to tell them we need a public option.

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