Feb. 9, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Leaders Confident on Health Bill Vote

Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah), co-chairman of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition, said the proposal for a robust public option tied to Medicare rates was causing “a lot of concern,” and said he wasn’t sure where leadership would find the votes. Matheson said that just 12 of the 52 Blue Dogs in the past had committed to supporting such a plan.

Matheson also took issue with Pelosi’s contention that the robust plan saves the most money.

“It’s a false choice to say that the only cost issue we can talk about is the [shape] of the public option,” Matheson said. He said subsidies for buying insurance could be trimmed instead.

And he said Members wanted to see a detailed CBO analysis before committing one way or the other. “We keep hearing rumors. Let’s see it,” he said.

“We really have no details,” complained Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), another Blue Dog. Cooper, who supports some versions of the public option, said he wants to expand the pool of Americans allowed to choose it. Under the existing bills, only about 10 percent of Americans would be included in the health insurance exchange — largely people who do not have insurance now.

“That’s a pretty small group,” Cooper said. “We should be talking about a robust exchange at the same time we’re talking about a robust public option.”

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