At least four or five different types of public-option formats are still being considered, Clyburn said. A “robust” option based on Medicare reimbursement rates plus 5% may not have enough votes to survive, although Clyburn said he didn't know “that any one option has more momentum than any other.”
Caucus members in the meantime seemed lukewarm to the Senate's bid to include a public plan with a state “opt out” provision, claiming the proposal lacked details.
This could potentially weaken a public option, in the event “every red state governor decides to opt out on the first try,” Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) told reporters.
Others commended Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for including such an option in the Senate's healthcare reform legislation. “It's not just good policy; it's good politics,” Rep. Robert Andrews (D-N.J.) said.
Abortion may be the last lingering roadblock to the House bill outside of the public option. Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) and other lawmakers have been insistent about inserting language in the bill to ensure that no federal dollars are used to fund abortions. “I'm hopeful something can be worked out” to address Stupak's concerns on this issue, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters.
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