Public Option Still an Option

The health-care reform bill must to back to the House for a revote. Democratic lawmakers in the Senate now have the possibility of including a public option after all.

The Huffington Post reports that the health-care bill passed by the House of Representatives over the weekend will have to go back to that chamber for a revote. The Senate Parliamentarian Alan Frumin who rules on proceedings determined that the reconciliation package contained some minor errors, making it necessary to pass the bill again without them.

“Why they’re in violation of the Byrd Rule doesn’t matter,” claims the online newspaper; “the upshot is that Republicans will succeed in at least slightly altering the legislation.”

With no substantial changes, House speaker Nancy Pelosi should have little problem assembling the same coalition of 220 Democrats who passed the measure Sunday night.

In all likelihood, that will be the case indeed, though several Democratic lawmakers changed their minds once to approve the bill. What’s to keep them from shifting their vote again?

Since the bill must return to the lower chamber anyway, Senate Democrats have the chance to include furthers changes, including the public option. A simply majority in the Senate will suffice.

Do they have the votes? Speaker Pelosi has long maintained that she has ample support in the House for a public option. House Majority Whip James Clyburn still believes they do. Asked Wednesday evening whether the Democrats could get the public option back on the table, he answered simply, “Yes, sir.” The problem has always been in the Senate, he declared, not in the House.