Does Reid Even Read His Own Website?

On Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's website, under health care reform, there is a debunking common myths section. The very first myth debunked is that:
Myth: The Public Plan Is No Longer An Option

Senator Reid supports the creation of a public option that would keep the insurance companies honest and provide care that puts patients first.

  • The objective remains to develop legislation that reduces costs, improves outcomes, and protects choice and provide stability and security to our health care system. Senator Reid is working tirelessly to bring both sides of the aisle together and is hopeful that a quality, comprehensive, bi-partisan bill is within reach.

  • Under the proposed health insurance reform bill, Americans would have the choice of private insurance company plans and also the option to choose coverage from a public plan. This public option would be offered through the health insurance exchange and would compete on a level playing field with private insurance plans to ensure private insurers operate honestly and reduce costs while improving services. Those who choose the public option would pay premiums for their coverage, and the public plan would use those premiums for operating expenses.
Reid's website is correct, the public plan is still very much alive--but it will likely stay alive only if Reid chooses to keep it alive. The Senate Finance Committee's bill did not contain a public option, but the Senate HELP Committee's bill did. It is completely up to Reid to decide how to merge these two bills. As Rockefeller and Schumer have pointed out, it is completely within Reid's power to put the Senate HELP Committee's public option in the merged bill.

As David Waldman explains, if Reid puts the public option in the merged bill brought to the floor it would take 60 votes to remove it and there are not 60 votes against the public option in the Senate. Conversely, if Reid leaves the public plan out, it would take 60 votes to add one, and there are not 60 votes for a stand-alone amendment for a public option.

“The public plan is no longer an option” is only a myth if Reid chooses to make it a myth. It is completely within Reid's power to make a real public option part of the Senate bill, but Reid also has the power to kill the public option in the Senate. So, will Reid make a liar of himself, or make a liar out of those claiming the public option is no longer viable?

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