Some Health Care Thoughts

I was going to comment on desmoinesdem's snow link story, but I decided to write my first diary instead…here she is:

Many on the left might be feeling depressed right now.  After all, this filibuster proof majority in the Senate is not really helping that much, and health care is seemingly being excessively watered down.

However, Democrats should not be overly depressed.  They have effectively shut down the voices of the Republican Party in Washington, save Olympia Snowe.  Isn't that what the supermajorities were all about?

Furthermore, according to President Obama, the public option is not everything.  I know many folks believe that it is, but there are many reforms in this bill that, if voted on by themselves, would easily receive over 80 votes in the Senate (i.e. they're popular and good policy).  Plus, if a bill does pass before the State of the Union address, even a sub-par one, President Obama can use that platform to boast, and tell us all about the wondrous portions of the health care reform that the Democrats alone passed through Congress.

I'm sure it'll be quite a speech.

As for the public option, moderate Democrats are quite the thorn in the side of the Democratic leadership.  It's kind of a Catch-22, though, as we can see in the following conversation:


Senator Lieberman: “The public option is a huge deal!”

President Obama:  “Look, Joe, the public option is only a small part of reform.  As such, if it's such a small portion of reform, why would you sink all of health care just to stop the public option?”

Lieberman: “Oh…it's only a small part of reform?”

Obama: “Yes…didn't you hear my speeches over the last 3 months?”

Lieberman: “Great…so if we get rid of the public option, it really won't harm reform that much…after all, it's only a small part of reform.”


Moderate Dems are probably thinking one of two things.

1.         If this PO is huge, then I’m justified in opposing it…more govt, more spending, my constituents don’t like it, yada yada yada

2.         If this PO is not huge, then I’m justified in opposing it…why are we fighting over something so small?

Some may disagree with their logic and/or facts, but the situation remains.


I'm willing to declare that the “public option” will be one of the following four options:

1.  The idea that was floated yesterday was of Medicare 55-65.  Although it could be problematic, politically.  thereisnospoon had a diary that speaks to that yesterday.  Interesting points.

2.  The good ole' Snowe trigger.  Many on the left believe that this is actually designed never to trigger.

3.  This OPM buy-in, so people can purchase federal insurance…although, many people are saying that it's not a real public option.

4.  Some sort of Opt-In public option…which probably would not be as robust as an Opt-Out, considering the nature of it.

Another big question is, if the final PO is one of these four options, is an individual mandate a political winner for the Democrats?  I’d have to say no.  desmoinesdem seemed concerned about it today too.  Why alienate younger voters?

The political play-out of this has been fascinating, and rarely do we have a time in American politics where we truly do NOT know the outcome.  We’ll see how it plays out.  Of these four options, or a fifth that I may have overlooked, what would be the best from a policy standpoint?  A political standpoint?

Tags: Health Care

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  • an individual mandate

    without a public option is simply a disaster. Bad policy, worse politics. Won’t do anything to control costs, will break the budget, will reward many of the companies that create the problems this bill is supposed to fix. Oh yeah, and is one of the few things imaginable that could send young voters back to the GOP.

    I don’t believe any of the so-called good provisions in this bill will make a difference if there’s no alternative to private insurers. You can be sure there are loopholes written into the law that no one will noticed until after Obama has signed it and declared victory.

    A flawed public option would be preferable to no public option, because future legislative action can expand a limited public option. There is no prospect for creating a public option in the future if this bill doesn’t make one.

    Letting people over 55 buy in to Medicare isn’t a terrible idea, and it sets a precedent for lowering the age further in the future, but it doesn’t do much for people under 55.

  • thanks for the diary!

    I’d like to see more comment diaries like this one.