A sticking point in talks on health care is President Obama’s “public plan,” which will bring down health care costs and dramatically expand coverage. Republicans already oppose the plan, fearmongering about “socialism” and government bureaucracy. Today, CAPAF hosted a conference call announcing the creation of Doctors for America, a group of 11,000 physicians pushing for health care reform this year. On the call, Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) acknowledged that the public plan “is one of the two or three 800-pound gorillas” in Congress, adding that the public option is unlikely to pass Congress unless Democrats pass health care with a simple majority via budget reconciliation:
BAUCUS: We’ll probably spend some time looking at a couple three different public option alternatives to see how well it can be leveled out, the playing field actually be leveled. Because otherwise, this could be difficult to pass the Senate. It may pass the House. It may pass the Senate too — there’s a procedure called reconciliation. But that’s — we have to think that through a lot.
“It’s on the table, but it’s a little over on the side of the table right now,” Baucus said of the public option, adding that “it’s going to come up tomorrow when we have our roundtable discussions.” In an interview with the Wonk Room in March, Baucus said, “I think we can accomplish” health care reform “without” a public plan.