With Sen. Harry Reid's decision to ask the Congressional Budget Office to score a public option that states can choose to use, he's betting against the prospect of any Democratic senator filibustering the end product of health care reforms. Reid decided not to submit a public option with a trigger mechanism -- the approach favored by Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), calculating instead that he would be able to enforce party solidarity on what will certainly be an epochal vote. In order to induce at least one of those Democrats, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), Reid said that the final Senate bill would include non-profit co-op experiments, but he did not provide details. Liberals will interpret Reid's decision as evidence that their pressure worked. Indeed, Reid seemed to acknowledge that the power of moderates was not nearly as acute as it had been -- or that he thought it had been. He noted that, almost any way the data is sliced, Americans support a "public option" and understand what it would do.
Paul Ginsberg, the president of the Center for Study Health System Change, believes a public plan with negotiated rates wouldn't have much of any impact on costs because the plan "would lack the advantages of incumbency of leading private plans in an area and would be subject to pressure from Congress about including all providers," even those with higher rates.