Harry Reid demonstrated today that he believes that forward momentum is more important than absolute certainty when it comes to passing health reform with the public option.
Be clear – Reid doesn’t have the votes. Olympia Snowe’s statement of “deep disappointment” this afternoon shows she is not inclined now to let this bill go to the floor (although White House officials still hold out hope that she will). At least three Democratic senators have not committed to Reid either: Senators Blanche Lincoln, Mary Landrieu and Ben Nelson. And they won’t commit until they see how the Congressional Budget Office scores this bill – which could take several days to a week.
Meantime, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is considering a name change. Appearing in Florida today, Pelosi referred to the government-sponsored health plan proposal as “the consumer option” – not the ‘public option’ as it has come to be known.
According to the AP Rep Debbie Wasserman Schutlz was campaigning with Pelosi today and she, too, had a different phrase for the public option: “the competitive option.”
Wasserman Schultz said she expects the Speaker to test the new language when she returns to DC.