Monday :: Oct 26, 2009

Public Option: Back From The Dead


by Steve

This blog, October 7th:

Sensing that Max Baucus, Kent Conrad, and the White House have allowed the process to produce a bill that will kill 2010 Democratic incumbents, Senate Democrats have begun discussing an alternative that would allow individual states to “opt out” of a “robust national public option”, if those states’ political leaders care more about their insurance industry benefactors than their own constituents.
F*cking brilliant. If the Blue Dogs and GOP trust the industry so much, this gives them a chance to show voters who they care about the most.
[snip]
This approach is sweet, because it forces Blue Dog and GOP senators, and their governors and legislatures back home to publicly commit their support to the industry over their constituents. If these DINOs and whored Republicans are so convinced that the Big Insurance lobby will take better care of their constituents than a national non-profit option, then make them lead a campaign back home to deny their constituents that choice.

Late today:

The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, sided with his party’s liberals on Monday and announced that he would include a government-run insurance plan in health care legislation that he plans to take to the Senate floor within a few weeks.
His proposal came with an escape hatch: A state could refuse to participate in the public insurance plan by adopting a law to opt out. Even so, the announcement was a turning point in the debate over how much of a role government should play in an overhauled health care system, and it set the stage for a test of Democratic party unity.

Reid's about-face came after the Senate's progressives told him over the last week that there would be no health care reform bill without a public option. For once, they held together and flexed their muscles, with the backing of the American public.

What the "win-rather-than-good-policy" White House missed all along was that taking this "in-your-face Olympia" approach forces Joe Lieberman and the GOP caucus to either go along, or kill reform and side openly with the industry. And after the CBO comes out and shows that the plan will not add to the deficit, they won't be able to hide behind cost concerns. So the burden finally shifts to Mitch McConnell, and even Mary Landrieu to explain why they would still put insurance companies ahead of their own constituents, months ahead of the 2010 election.

Steve :: 8:47 PM :: Comments (1) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!