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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

Pelosi: House will vote to codify Roe v. Wade to counter Texas abortion ban

Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) slammed the Supreme Court's "cowardly, dark-of-night decision" to allow Texas' ban on most abortions to remain in place on Thursday, vowing to pass the Women's Health Protection Act when the House returns from recess.

Why it matters: The bill would "enshrine into law reproductive health care for all women across America," Pelosi said, codifying Roe v. Wade. The legislation faces an uphill battle in the Senate, however, where it is unlikely to have enough votes to overcome the 60-vote filibuster.

Mayors feel powerless to reduce homelessness

Expand chart
Recreated from 2021 Menino Survey of Mayors; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

America's mayors know their constituents hold them accountable for homelessness, but many don't feel they have the tools or power to fix things, a brand new survey says.

Why it matters: While homelessness has become more acute during the pandemic, city leaders say they lack the money, staff or political support needed to make a meaningful difference.

Ina Fried, author of Login
1 hour ago - Technology

Microsoft to buy Activision Blizzard

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Microsoft announced Tuesday it plans to acquire video game giant Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion in cash.

Why it matters: The move comes as Activision Blizzard has faced a wave of accusations of workplace harassment.