The original public plan proposed by the House would use a modified Medicare payment rate. That would make it 10% cheaper than private health insurance. A public plan that used Medicare rates would be a real cost saver for the individuals, small businesses, and the government.
To gain the support of some of the Blue Dogs the party leadership agreed to change the public plan to be similar to what is in the Senate HELP Committee. The CBO concluded that a public option constructed how the Blue Dogs want, would not be noticeably cheaper than private insurance or save the government much money.
It is a deal like this that I have long expected. I have no doubt that this particular compromise had been in the work since the beginning. I'm not surprised that the CBO report on the savings of the original House public option were kept secret. The only hope for a true robust public option is that the CBO concludes the change demanded by the Blue Dogs explodes the cost of the bill.