Woolsey To Introduce Public Option Bill ASAP

Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.) | Flickr/<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/edlabordems/3616565929/">edlabordems</a> (<a href="http://www.creativecommons.org">Creative Commons</a>).


Liberal legislators are among those who cheered the loudest for the passage of the Democratic health care bill on Sunday—but they’re not done yet. Lynn Woolsey, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said after the vote that she would soon advance a separate bill for a strong public option.

“I’ll introduce a robust public option the day that the President signs this legislation into law,” Woolsey said as she left the House floor on Sunday evening. “We have more work to do, and we will do it.”

Woolsey said that the other members of the progressive caucus would support the bill to create a government-run health insurance plan, but added they hadn’t signed onto the proposal yet. She noted that other members of the caucus would be working on separate items “immediately.” Though she didn’t give details, such proposals are likely to include a repeal of the anti-trust exemption for insurance companies and other measures that had been dropped in order to woo moderate and conservative Democrats.

Obama may sign the health care legislation as earlier as Monday or Tuesday this week, before the reconciliation fixes to the bill go to the Senate for a vote. If the public option is put on the table again before the Senate votes, according to Woolsey’s plan, the politics could become tricky. At that point, Democrats will still be making a huge push to celebrate the main bill and convince the public of its merits. And it’s uncertain how reviving the public option once more will play out as Democrats try to unite themselves behind the bill and Republicans scramble to sharpen their opposition to it. While the public option has been the main rallying cry for progressives critical of the concessions made to moderates and industry groups, reform’s supporters have spent an enormous amount of energy and political capital to pass the comprehensive bill. Will liberals gear up for the next fight so soon after the big battle has been won?

THE BIG QUESTION...

as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot. That's what Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein tackles in her annual December column—"Billionaires Are Not the Answer"—about the state of journalism and our plans for the year ahead.

We can't afford to let independent reporting depend on the goodwill of the superrich: Please help Mother Jones build an alternative to oligarchy that is funded by and answerable to its readers. Please join us with a tax-deductible, year-end donation so we can keep going after the big stories without fear, favor, or false equivalency.

THE BIG QUESTION...

as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot.

Please read our annual column about the state of journalism and Mother Jones' plans for the year ahead, and help us build an alternative to oligarchy by supporting our people-powered journalism with a year-end gift today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.