For nearly a year, President Obama stood on the sidelines and allowed Congress to hash out health care reform. Which turned into health insurance reform. Which is not the same as health care reform. And the president's staunchest defenders made all sorts of excuses for his lack of direct involvement, and claimed that his occasional public comments in support of a public option was enough.
Last week, some Senate Democrats began circulating a letter urging Majority Leader Reid to allow a vote on a public option via reconciliation. At first, some said it was but a small group of new Senate faces. But as the week progressed, more Senators signed on, including long time Senate veterans, centrists, and even a member of the Democratic leadership. By week's end, twenty Senators were on board. Momentum seemed to be building. And somewhere in there, the White House announced it finally would produce its own health care plan. Finally. A year late, but finally.
Today, the Obama plan was released. No public option. Despite his comments, throughout the year, his plan doesn't include it. But the timing does seem likely to stop cold the momentum that had been building in the Senate. We'll see how many new Senators now sign the letter. Thus far, none have, today.
Did Obama just kill the public option?