White House Denies Report That It Wants To Weaken Public Plan
The White House is denying reports that officials are pressuring Sen. Harry Reid to scale back the scope of the "public option" that'll be attached to the Senate health insurance bill. Talking Points Memo reported, based on unnamed sources close to the negotiations, that the White House is "skeptical" of a public option that includes a state opt-out choice, preferring -- and advocating for -- a public option that would kick in only if the private exchange failed to lower costs.
"The report is false. The White House continues to work with the Senate on the merging of the two bills," said Dan Pfeiffer, a top White House aide whose portfolio includes health care. "We are making good progress toward enacting comprehensive health reform."
TPM notes that Sen, Jay Rockefeller sent out a seemingly unprompted press release rejecting the "trigger" option. It claims that the White House's pressure on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is based on President Obama's desire to accommodate the wishes of Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), who supports a trigger-only public plan and who voted "yes" on the Senate Finance Committee's health care draft.