Critical Condition

Turning on the Public Option

The Hill: 

Political momentum appeared to swing sharply against the public health insurance option prized by liberals Tuesday, on the eve of President Barack Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress.

Democratic leaders in the House and Senate on Tuesday signaled they are increasingly willing to pass healthcare reform without a public insurance option, even while Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) again insisted it must be included in a House healthcare bill. 

Following a White House meeting with the president and Vice President Joe Biden, Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) gave few clues on what Obama would say. 

But a Democratic leadership aide who sat in on an administration briefing Tuesday said that while Obama will offer support Wednesday for a public option, the president will not insist on it. 

“He’s going to say it’s the best tool for reducing costs,” the aide said. “I think he’s going to be a bit noncommittal.”