House Democrats preparing less ambitious public option

House Democratic leaders are preparing to unveil as soon as Thursday a health care bill that includes a more moderate version of the public option, several Democratic leadership aides say.

This version would allow doctors to negotiate reimbursement rates with the federal government, the aides said Wednesday.

The proposal would be a blow to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who has argued for a more “robust” public option, one that ties reimbursement rates for providers and hospitals to Medicare rates plus a 5 percent increase.

But Pelosi and other Democratic leaders, after a week of canvassing rank and file Democrats, appear to be bowing to the reality that her preferred approach does not have enough votes. Instead, the more moderate version, favored by rural and moderate members, appears to have the most support among House Democrats.

“The votes aren’t there for robust public option, so that means we’re looking at the other form of the public option,” a Democratic aide said.

House Democratic leaders will meet Wednesday afternoon to make final decisions, the aide said.

Those leaders tentatively are planning to unveil their health care bill at a big event on the West Front of the Capitol on Thursday morning, the sources said.story.pelosi


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