Sunday, August 16, 2009

Pulling the Plug on the Public Option

Breitbart reports the White House is signaling a willingness to drop the controversial "public option" and looking to move toward a compromise with Republicans:
Facing mounting opposition to the overhaul, administration officials left open the chance for a compromise with Republicans that would include health insurance cooperatives. Such a concession is likely to enrage his liberal supporters but could deliver Obama a much-needed win on a top domestic priority opposed by GOP lawmakers.
Hot Air has the latest from Conrad who confirms the public option will not have votes to pass in the Senate:
“Look, the fact of the matter is there are not the votes in the U.S. Senate for the public option, there never have been,” Conrad said in an interview on “Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace.”

“So to continue to chase that rabbit is, I think, a wasted effort,” Conrad said.
Hot Air also has video of Sebelius retreating from the public option.

The likely compromise would involve the cooperatives proposed by Kent Conrad I mentioned last Sunday. The cooperative plan outlined in Time Magazine called for:
"the creation of 50 separate cooperatives, one for each state. Each cooperative would be nonprofit, run by a board of directors elected from within the ranks of co-op members. They would essentially act as self-insurers, meaning premiums paid in by members would cover the cost of claims. The theory is that co-ops would be able to offer health insurance at lower costs for individuals and small businesses — who now must pay some of the highest rates for commercial insurance — because they would create larger risk pools. States with smaller populations could join with nearby ones to form regional alliances with larger pools of members.

Republican Richard Shelby is quoted as being open to looking at these cooperatives:
Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., said Obama's team is making a political calculation and embracing the co-op alternative as "a step away from the government takeover of the health care system" that the GOP has pummeled.

"I don't know if it will do everything people want, but we ought to look at it. I think it's a far cry from the original proposals," he said.

Kent Conrad is a key member of the Senate Finance Committee and seated at the grown up table, where the President's plan appears to be taking shape.

While the retreat from the public option may appear a victory, the mere fact the Administration spent much of August promoting it despite evidence it would have always been difficult to pass in the Senate, is an indication the President always preferred a large government plan. Much of the outrage expressed in town halls and reflected in polls made it clear the public was not inclined to see another massive government program created in the process of health care reform. This may be retreat but we can't call it surrender. It is far too early to call this victory and this is no time to become complacent.
UPDATE: American Power declares this win a "skirmish" in the longer battle to victory see warning here.

1 comment:

  1. THIS IS IT!

    More than two thirds of the American people want a single payer health care system. And if they cant have a single payer system 76% of all Americans want a strong government-run public option on day one (85% of democrats, 71% of independents, and 60% of republicans). Basically everyone.

    AND NO INSURANCE MANDATES WITHOUT A STRONG GOVERNMENT-RUN PUBLIC OPTION ON DAY ONE! An insurance mandate without a strong government-run public option choice on day one, would be a DISASTER! And it would be worse than the GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT HEALTH INSURANCE HORROR! SHOW you have now. YOU MUST MAKE CERTAIN!! THAT DOES NOT HAPPEN AMERICA.

    The healthcare reform bills released by the first two committees of the House Of Representatives are excellent bills as I understand them. They are bills with a strong, robust, government-run public option, and an intelligent, reasonable initial funding plan to cover almost all of the American people. They are carefully written, and thoughtfully constructed, informed, prudent and wise. These bills will save trillions of dollars, and millions of your lives. They are also now supported by the AMA.

    These are the type of bills that all Americans can feel good about. And these are the type of bills that have the potential to dramatically improve the quality of healthcare for all Americans. Rich, middle class and poor a like. Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and all other party affiliations. These bills have the potential to dramatically improve the quality of life of every American.

    The house healthcare bills released by the first two committees should be viewed as the minimum GOLD STANDARD by which all other proposed healthcare legislation should be judged. All supporters of true high quality healthcare reform should now place all your support behind these healthcare reform bills released by the first two committees of the United States House Of Representatives, as the minimum Gold standard for healthcare reform in America.

    You should all now support the first two committees bills with all your might, and all of your unrelenting tenacity. These first two House committees healthcare bills are VERY, VERY GOOD! bills for all of the American people. Fight tooth, and nail for every bit of these bills if you have too. Be aggressive, creative, and relentless for these bills.

    From this time forward, go BIGGER and DEEPER with the American people every day until passage of healthcare reform with a robust, government-run public option.

    FIGHT!! like your life and the lives of your loved ones depends on it. BECAUSE IT DOES!


    Senator Bernie Sanders on healthcare (

    God Bless You

    Jack Smith — Working Class


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