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Ear to the Ground

Senate Bill Will Include Public Option

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Posted on Oct 26, 2009
Harry Reid

Majority Leader Harry Reid has announced that the Senate version of health care reform would include a public option with an opt-out, which would allow states to sidestep participation in the government insurance program. The White House reportedly favored a trigger instead, which is probably just a sneaky way to kill the measure altogether.

But CNN quotes a White House official who said the president would support Reid’s more ambitious effort.

It’s not that President Obama doesn’t want a public option—he has repeated his support over and over—but that his strategists think it will sink his entire health reform agenda.

On the other hand, that agenda is shaping up to be a huge gift to insurance companies (by requiring millions of new customers to sign up), without much in the way of tangible reform.

A public option, which has only grown in popularity during the last month, would help soothe progressives who are disappointed in the White House and repulsed by Sen. Max Baucus’ more conservative reform bill.

The Huffington Post reports that some conservative senators who previously decried the public option have hinted that they wouldn’t work with Republicans to block a vote.  —PZS

Huffington Post:

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), a public option opponent, has said that while she disagrees with the policy in question, she isn’t inclined to join Republicans in sinking the entire reform effort over it.

“I’m not right now inclined to support any filibuster,” she told HuffPost last week. The refusal of the GOP to participate meaningfully in negotiations has soured her on joining them in a filibuster. “For the Republican Party to kind of step out of the game is very unfortunate,” she said. “I’m not going to be joining people that don’t want progress.”

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), another public option foe, wouldn’t commit when asked last week. “I believe in playing chess, but that’s about three moves ahead of me, and I’m not prepared to make those moves until I see some other moves in between,” he told HuffPost.

Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), a conservative Democrat, sounded as if he could embrace Reid’s strategy after meeting with the leader last week. “I’m open to a public option,” he said.

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By Concernedandupset, October 27, 2009 at 8:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The idea of public option started off great.  Little did we know that behind the scenes these politicians would make deals to confuse and deceive the public while allowing them to believe that these plans would be a benefit to us.  They are calling it a public option to appease the uninformed.  While as each day passes its more and more beginning to look like a scheme.  From all that I can gather, the public option will not be available to all of us who are already paying way too much for healthcare premiums.  Which means our current companies can continue to charge as much as they want for healthcare for as long as the want.  The public option will only available for those who don’t currently have health insurance which seems like a plan to allow the government to get their piece of the pie.  If this really were a plan to drive healthcare costs down, everyone would be eligible and everyone would have a choice to pick either their extremely high priced private insurance company or take a chance by going with a government run plan.  How can this plan drive down cost, when the insurance companies get to keep all their current customers, because their customer’s doesn’t have another option.  They may also come up with certain plans to steal some the new customer’s from going with the government plan.  Extra money in their pocket, what is this?

Then the Senate tries to patronize us by offering a silly paln that would allow each state to opt out if they choose.  Suppose every state opted out?  Where would we be? We would end up with the exact same situation that we currently have (besides the ban on pre-conditions which is great). 

Stop playing with the public, it’s not funny.  Give us something meaningful or stop talking about healthcare and move on to other pressing matters.

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By glider, October 26, 2009 at 10:58 pm Link to this comment

>>(Obama) reportedly favored a trigger, which is probably just a sneaky way to kill the measure<<

Can you say disingenuous lying SOB

>>not that President Obama doesn’t want a public option—he has repeated his support over and over—but that his strategists think it will sink his entire health reform agenda<<

Blah, blah, blah.  Get a clue.  His f***ing plan is to enrich the HICs, there is no “health” in the asshole’s plans.

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ApprxAm's avatar

By ApprxAm, October 26, 2009 at 8:24 pm Link to this comment

Hoping this will come true:

This is the genius of Federalism.  If your state doesn’t want it, then fine and dandy.  Citizens of the several states can either vote with their feet or influence the process at the state and local level.  Elected RePugZ and Right-CHicken WiNG nuts will be force to fight on several fronts and with themselves.

It’s smart politically because it diffuses the corrupting process of lobbyist, forcing them to stretch their resources and give more opportunity to be displayed in 50 different venues as obstructionist.  It also forces local G.O.Pee-ers in the south to fight it on internally, further weakening their message of Liberal induced Socialism; if Georgia don’t want it, they don’t have to.  But they’re going to have to do it amongst themselves and answer to the voters in the next election cycle.  If it works in Wisconsin, then South Carolinian RePugZ stuck with the same old state dominated monopolies or the over-hyped and, inevitably under-funded, Co-operatives can place blame squarely where it belongs. On the CONservaNutZ of their own choosing!

Finally, FuxNewZ and all the little Religio-facist A.M. Christian radio stations (Little FuXeZ) will obviously take sides, rightly or wrong—I’m betting on WRONGLY—placing yet another Right-Wing Institution’s N*Tz on the block.  FauxNews will either amp up the craziness or get lost in the multi-state, self-shooting squadZ of the Kansans of the world. 

So just KEEP ON FIGHTING THE CULTURE WARS, TEXAS!

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By mackTN, October 26, 2009 at 7:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Is it a coincidence that clusters of theme-related stories get published around the same time?  Take the story broken recently that the profits of insurance companies are not that large. Hmmmm. Cynical me thinks the timing of this story is meant to dampen disgust over the insurance companies profiting from reform by means of a mandate requiring everybody to sign up. As much as I abhor reform without a public option, I am more abhorred at the thought of insurance companies getting more power in this game via profit. Somehow I don’t see competition and reform in this formula.

Again…all of this pushback and resistance to reform has nothing to do with constituents, at least not the middle class kind.  It has to do with campaign contributions, lobbying perks, lucrative jobs after political careers end. With the elected ones bought and paid for with corporate coins, what can people really look forward to?  We have been sacrificed as prey, promised as profits, herded and manipulated to designated queues.

With _____________ like these, who needs____________?  Please fill in the blanks.

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By Chris Herz, October 26, 2009 at 5:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So who cares?  Having just reached the age of 65 and just now registered for Medicare I can assure you that this program is worthless without hundreds of dollars per month in payments to private health insurance companies.  Pensioners cannot afford this.
Your government are not your government.  They are the agents of the corporate state.

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By melpol, October 26, 2009 at 5:12 pm Link to this comment

The public option will be so useless that every state will opt out. Diluting its
content was the only way it stood a chance of being passed. It is drinking a glass
of watered down scotch.

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By ChaoticGood, October 26, 2009 at 4:37 pm Link to this comment

These conservative democrats won’t have to worry about their re-election if they sink the public option. The progressive democrats in their states will stay home next election or vote for the Green Party candidate.  Maybe this message is getting through to them.

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