The leadership in both chambers of Congress has decided that health care reform should have a public option. However there are still some major challenges to overcome in both the House and the Senate.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has long been in favor of a public option but is in the midst of trying to resolve how doctors and hospitals will be reimbursed under a public option. The choice made will likely determine whether the bill will be able to get the necessary 218 votes to pass. Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly says a decision is expected Thursday, which could mean floor debate starting next week.
Meanwhile in the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., announced Monday that the Senate bill will have a public option. The question remains whether he will have the 60 votes needed. Moderate Democrats are unsure about supporting a measure that includes a government insurance plan.
Reid will need the vote of each and every member of his caucus to even allow the Senate to begin debate on the legislation and Independent Joe Lieberman, who caucuses with the Democrats, says he will probably align with Republicans to block the measure unless the public option language is dropped.