Senate leaders are hammering out a health reform bill that would include a public health insurance option that would include a provision allowing states to opt out. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid backed the proposal last week. The White House said a rumor that President Obama doesn't like the idea is false. Are congressional Democrats and Obama at odds over health reform?
Democrats sure think Obama isn't helping enough: Senate Democrats finally "think they are close to getting the votes they need in order to pass an 'opt-out' version of the public option," said Jonathan Cohn in The New Republic, but they don't think Obama is doing enough to help. The White House says Obama will support whatever senators deliver -- but it's no secret he wants to keep moderate Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe on board, and she wants a trigger to set up public insurance only if private insurers fail to offer affordable coverage.
"Senate Dems to Obama: Um, a little help here?"
Obama is pushing against the public option: To keep Olympia Snowe happy, says David Corn in Politics Daily, "the White House--which technically supports the public option--is not pushing" the public option at all. Democrats really want it, but President Obama really wants Snow on board to provide a measure of "Republican cred attached to the final bill."
"Does Obama like Olympia Snowe a little too much?"
Democrats are at odds, and haggling behind closed doors: The troubling thing isn't that congressional Democrats and Obama aren't on the same page, said Jennifer Haberkorn in The Washington Times. It's that a handful of senators and White House officials are hammering out the details in a private room, with Republicans locked out. That's "not exactly the level of transparency that President Obama promised during the campaign, when he said health care talks would be aired live on C-SPAN."
"Health reform written behind closed doors"