What happened to the public option?

It’s mostly fallen off the national radar, despite being a major point of contention between moderates and progressives just a year ago during President Biden’s campaign.

But rather than holding Biden’s feet to the fire on the issue, progressives are concentrating on other health care priorities, like ensuring drug pricing reform and expanded Medicare are included in a massive infrastructure package.

“Crafting a public option is much more difficult than lowering the Medicare eligibility age and expanding benefits,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

“That’s where we are going to focus our attention at this moment. That doesn’t mean we’ve given up on the rest of the pieces. But I do think at this moment what we can immediately do is lower the Medicare eligibility age, add benefits and address prescription drug pricing,” Jayapal said.

Long-term process: Outside advocates and Democrats say they haven’t given up on pursuing a government-run health care plan, but there’s an acknowledgement that a lot of legislative legwork is needed on that front.