Monday, August 17, 2009

Life Support for the Public Option?

Remember the words of caution about declaring victory in the war on the "public option?" Mark Ambinder has this report in "The Atlantic:"
An administration official said tonight that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius "misspoke" when she told CNN this morning that a government run health insurance option "is not an essential part" of reform. This official asked not to be identified in exchange for providing clarity about the intentions of the President.
Ambinder reports the official claimed Kathleen Sebelius had intended to echo the President's message and there was no intention to change the White House messaging. What exactly is that message you might ask? Good question, make sense of this confused message if you can:
the public option is a tough sell in the Senate and is, at the same time, a must-pass for House Democrats, and is not, in the president's view, the most important element of the reform package.
Good thing they didn't pass tort reform, I think I might sue for whiplash. Hold on to your neck brace, there's more:
A second official, Linda Douglass, director of health reform communications for the administration, said that President Obama believed that a public option was the best way to reduce costs and promote competition among insurance companies, that he had not backed away from that belief, and that he still wanted to see a public option in the final bill.
So who do we believe the anonymous official or Rita Skeeter?

Ambinder reported earlier in the day:
Before the health care debate began in earnest, I can tell you that very senior White House officials believed that some form of public plan was absolutely necessary to ensure that the overall bill would be seen as a cost-cutter. That opinion changed roundabout three months ago when it became clear that even a public plan with a trigger mechanism -- Rahm Emanuel's preferred option -- just didn't have the votes.
This supports what Kent Conrad said "to Chris Wallace today as well. Clearly the White House will not stand or fall over the public option; failure to pass reform of any kind would be a huge loss for this President.

If HuffPo is any indication of the outrage on the liberal left, it is worth noting this story had over 17,000 comments. Many commenters vowed to bombard the White House with letters of protest. It could easily be an effort to assuage their outrage. HuffPo's headline now is in bold red: Mixed Messages. Holy cow, I agree.

1 comment:

  1. Boy this is confusing. Will someone make up their mind?


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