Holding Firm on the Public Option

On Memeorandum right now, there is an avalanche of commentary about the White House’s signaling that it’s ready to cave on the public option. Because there is so much progblog analysis, and because there are so many distinct issues involved with this legislation, I’ve decided to organize the progblog analysis by the talking points.

First, it’s important to be clear about why the public option has become this huge lightning rod. If you think it’s because the American people ‘don’t want government-run healthcare,’ no gold star for you. If you think it’s because the private health insurance industry (a) hates a public option (any public option) and (b) has half of Congress (conservative estimate)  in its pocket, you can redeem your gold stars for the expensive medical test of your choice.

Second, the public option does matter, and it’s not dead. To be sure, key members of the Obama administration — including Obama himself — have been doing their best lately to “preemptively surrender” the option, but that does not mean it’s dead. If it were dead, a health care reform bill that did not include a public option would have been passed by both houses of Congress and Pres. Obama would have signed it. Even then, a public option could be added down the road, so the option is not dead. It just needs progressive activists and lawmakers who believe in it to fight for it, is all. The ability to add and subtract helps, too.

No one on the liberal/progressive side believes that a public option does not matter, or that health care reform would be just as fine without it. However, there are those in liberal blogtopia who argue that it should not be a deal-breaker. The three best-known bloggers I’ve seen make this argument are Nate Silver, Ezra Klein, and Matthew Yglesias.

As for me, I’m torn. But Silver, Klein, and Yglesias are all intelligent, thoughtful writers and they’ve proved over many years that they care about health care reform. I can respect what they’re saying.

11 Responses to “Holding Firm on the Public Option”

  1. Jack Jodell says:

    It is extremely frustrating to see so many Democrats playing footsie with the loudmouthed crybaby Republicans who are owned lock, stock, and barrel by big insurance and big pharma. It is disgusting to see how many Democrats appear to be swaying to the breeze of the health insurance lobby, too. FACT: A majority of the country favors a public option. FACT: A majority have even said they would pay higher taxes to support one. So what’s the confusion and delay? Democrats: PASS A PUBLIC OPTION BILL WITHOUT THE REPUBLICANS! Once these imported and misled crazies at the Town Hall meetings taste their “Medicare for all”, they’ll be happy and all this bullcrap will end. Grandma will still be alive, they’ll still be seeing their own doctor, and they won’t be spending all kinds of extra money ensuring that big insurance and big pharma CEOs get their multimillion dollar undeserved salaries. Pharmaceutical costs will come down too. Obama will be a hero, employers will be happy they’re footing less of a health care bill, and the only unhappy people will be the greedy and vastly overpaid insurance and pharma execs, and to hell with all of them!

    • Darko says:

      kbot: I did not paralyze aynnoe. Do not expect me to take responsibility for your friends Dad but since you brought it up do you not think his Dad needs help that we all should provide? If his family is not up to the challenge don’t you think people like him deserve to be helped by society? He did not choose to get paralyzed right?

    • Damn, I wish I could think of something smart like that!

  2. johnholmes says:

    Jack: Have you read the polls?? Seriously, the Huff Post poll of its readers doesn’t reflect America. You are lying with manufactured poll data…. you are in the Minority … the “Unamerican Astroturf Nazi’s” (as Democrat Party Leaders call Americans) … are really grassroots and you know it.

    Want to save money in Health Care? Try passing Tort Reform .. but NO, the Democrats are so beholden to the dirt ambulance chasing Lawyers so we can’t do this. How about eliminating health care for Illegals? That would save billions .. Oh no, that would be immoral plus Democrats are beholden to Immigrunt groups who not only enther the USA illegally, they vote illegally too … for Democrats .. How about allowing Health Ins. Companies to sell a policy Nationwide rather than within a State Only .. that would save money huh?

    Big time money grubbing Lawyers like your former VP nominee John Edwards sucked hundreds of millions out of our Health Care system for a scam. Edwards exemplifies the problem, a dirt Lawyer who lives in the largest house in South Carolina. How many doctors and patients were hurt while Edwards drew millions out of the system?? doctors have to practice “defensive medicine” and pay high insurance fees thanks to your favorites like John Edwards. The Dems would never have the courage to put a cap on their biggest donors (re: Lawyers).

    I agree Pharma execs are overpaid. But thier draw has virtually zero impact within the billions spent on Pharma … I suppose you could argue that everyone involved in Health Care is overpaid. Some doctors are making well over 400k, many nurses make over $40/hr+ bene’s for a 2yr degree, Tech’s earn $30 – $50/hr+bene’s for their 2yr degree as well.

  3. johnholmes says:

    … pill counting Pharmacists start at 120k right out of college, cutsy drug-rep. sales girls can make upwards of 200k+ just for selling the drugs with ZERO biomed experience or credentials!! Same for the people selling machines used in medicine, 200k+ for a decent sales person.

    Everything and everyone involved in our Health Care system is overpaid and overpriced. We never see the bill so most people have no idea. The Big Evil Insurance Companies pay monsterous bills over and above any cost because of the uninsured and Medicare patients.

    You just have no idea Jack, but I’m glad for that, because of dolts like you we are winning the fight against Socialized Canada-Style lack of care …

  4. johnholmes says:

    Don’t blame the GOP here, it’s lack of Democrat and Public Support that’s sinking your Socialized lack of care plan …

  5. Elizabeth says:

    But Silver, Klein, and Yglesias are all intelligent, thoughtful writers and they’ve proved over many years that they care about health care reform. I can respect what they’re saying.

    Which, of course, does not mean that they are right. No cost controls (from Big Pharma) and no public option — so where exactly does the health care reform begin? Yes, insurance regulation is a good thing, but far from the reform this country desperately needs.

    There have been so many mistakes made in handling the reform by this administration so far that it makes the Clintons look like geniuses. The mistakes are attributable to a lack of imagination and political will at the very top. Obama does not seem to know himself what he wants and, more importantly, what the country needs. (Though he did know it as an IL senator, curiously: a single-payer, government-run health care for all. Quickly forgot about it when running for preznit, though.) And, oh, let’s not forget, there are six lobbyists per one lawmaker “working” on the reform.

    No wonder it’s been so easy to put Obama and his supporters on the defensive. Let’s hope they can dig themselves and us out of this mess. Without public option, there is no meaningful health care reform to talk about.

    And, btw, it’s not just my say-so, but opinions of people who’ve spent their lives devoted to this issue (like Kip Sullivan, for example, Marcia Angell, or Wendell Potter, to name a few).

    We will get some insurance regulation, I’m fairly confident of that. But health care reform? Not quite, especially if the public option is removed.

    On a personal note, I was raised under the socialistic health care “regime” And let me tell you, it was awesome compared to what passes for health “care” here. No one died from treatable diseases because they could not afford to pay their doctors or pharmacists, no one went bankrupt from paying obscene medical bills, and there was no unreasonable waiting (which I have encountered here, in the US, btw) and no rationing (which we do see here). Wish all Americans could at least get a taste of it — they’d be more easily persuaded, I’m sure.

    BTW, the public support for the public option has been and remains strong, at about 2/3 of the population, according to various polls. We don’t always hear this from the media, however, as the wingnut stories dominate prime time news.

  6. Jon says:

    johnholmes – well said. TORT REFORM is the place to start with reducing healthcare costs. Private industry is not the problem!

  7. Jon says:

    Elizabeth – what kind of nutcase are you to think that wherever you were raised has a better healthcare system than America? If you are talking about any type of socialist healthcare, you obviously didn’t take note of either the waiting lists for healthcare or the euthanasia, neither of which anyone with two brain cells wants to see in America.

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