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Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) on Wednesday asked for public input on how to craft a "federally administered public option that provides quality, affordable health coverage throughout the United States."

Why it matters: The push for a public option comes days before PresidentBiden’s first full budget, which reports show will endorse the idea of a public option, but actually falls short of including such a proposal or any kind of analysis of cost.

  • Some Democrats have urged the president to include a public option or lower the age for Medicare eligibility in his American Families Plan.
  • Murray and Pallone lead panels with jurisdiction over health care policy.

What they're saying: In a letter published Wednesday, Murray and Pallone ask for feedback on issues including plan eligibility, benefits to offer and the role of states in administering health care.

  • Their goal "is to work towards achieving universal coverage, while making health care simpler and more affordable for patients and families."
  • "Health care affordability remains a challenge for many American families despite the fact that the United States spends more on health care than any other country," they write.

The big picture: Health care spending in the U.S. is nearly double the average amount spent by other comparable high-income countries on a per-person basis, according to the Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker.

  • Despite running for office on the promise of creating a Medicare-like plan, Biden has opted to expand access to plans under the Affordable Care Act for now, per CNBC.

Go deeper

May 26, 2021 - Health

Scientists: Canceling Tokyo Olympics "may be the safest option"

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

With less than two months until the Tokyo Olympics' opening ceremony, scientists are warning that "canceling the games may be the safest option," according to a paper published Tuesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Why it matters: As Japan anticipates 20,000 athletes and support staff from 200 different countries, the country remains in a state of emergency with nearly 70,000 active cases and only 5% of the population vaccinated, the lowest rate within OECD countries.

Updated 30 mins ago - Sports

Naomi Osaka eliminated from Olympic tennis tournament in Tokyo

Czech 42nd-ranked Marketa Vondrousova (L) shakes hands with Japan's Naomi Osaka after their Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games women's singles third round tennis match at the Ariake Tennis Park in Tokyo on Tuesday. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP via Getty Images

Naomi Osaka was eliminated from the Olympics after losing her Tokyo tennis tournament match 6-1, 6-4 in the third round to Czech Marketa Vondrousova on Tuesday.

Of note: Japan's Osaka is the women's world No. 2, while is Vondrousova ranked No.42.

Drought pushes 2 major U.S. lakes to historic lows

Kayakers at a boat launch ramp Page, Arizona, on July 3, which was made unusable by record low water levels at Lake Powell as the drought continues to worsen near. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

Two significant U.S. lakes, one of which is a major reservoir, are experiencing historic lows amid a drought that scientists have linked to climate change.

What's happening: Lake Powell, the second largest reservoir in the U.S., has fallen 3,554 feet in elevation, leaving the crucial reservoir on the Colorado River, at 33% capacity — the lowest since it was filled over half a century ago, new U.S. Bureau of Reclamation data shows.