If the point of health care reform is to do something about skyrocketing medical costs, then the House reform bill just got a little more pointless. Although the speaker and other House liberals had hoped to hitch the public option’s negotiating power to Medicare’s wagon, conservative Democrats successfully defeated the idea.

Still, the House bill will include a public option, if weakened. According to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the whole thing will cost less than $900 billion over 10 years, or, to think about it another way, less than what the U.S. spends on defense in just one year, if you include things like the Department of Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs. — PZS

Wall Street Journal:

But centrist Democrats say Medicare’s payments are too low, falling far short of the actual costs to hospitals and doctors of caring for patients. Democratic leaders have concluded they don’t have the 218 votes needed to pass a bill tied to Medicare rates.

“After a series of discussions over the last couple of days, we’ve come to realize it’s very tough to get to that point,” said Rep. George Miller (D., Calif.), chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee and an ally of Ms. Pelosi.

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