I really didn’t think the old geezer had it in him:
The Senate health care legislation will include a government-run insurance plan, but states would be allowed to “opt out” of it, the majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, announced Monday afternoon.
Pres. Obama, who has been playing it very coy about committing to any kind of public option, declared his support for Sen. Reid, saying through White House channels that he is “pleased that the Senate has decided to include a public option for health coverage, in this case with an allowance for states to opt out.”
As a political strategy, this is win-win for Reid, says Ezra Klein:
Politico reports that a weekend whip count turned up 56 or 57 votes, though the bigger question is whether Reid can count on 60 votes to close down a filibuster. If he can’t, then, as Chris Frates says, he’ll at least be able to say he tried[.]
This accomplishes two things for Reid. First, as Frates’s unnamed lobbyist points out, he can lose this vote but credibly claim that he went to bat for a pretty good compromise on the public option. Second, it creates consequences for those who want to vote against the public option. Rather than killing the proposal in a back room, moderates who won’t vote for cloture will actually have to vote against cloture. That makes them a target in their next election, and ensures a lot of harassment from the left. Reid is, in other words, making it harder — not impossible, but harder — for them to oppose the public option. Procedurally, it’s a big win for public option advocates.
Jon Walker at Firedoglake goes over the “When, How, Who, and What” of the opt-out public option.
Mitch McConnell, of course, can’t say that he doesn’t give a flipping farthing for what most Americans want, so he lies:
“Wholly aside from the debate over whether the government gets into the insurance business, the core of the proposal is a bill that the American public clearly does not like, and doesn’t support,” said Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell.
Alex Koppelman makes the Pinnocchio call:
That’s not actually true — depending on how the question is phrased, polls show a majority of voters still do like the plan, and it’s gotten more popular since the summer.