Pres. Obama gave a rousing, campaign-style speech in Philadelphia today in which he spoke up strongly for the public option.
Robert Creamer at The Huffington Post challenges the conventional wisdom that the public option is either dead or dying. He gives several reasons, among them the fact that the GOP chose to use crappy tactics in service to a foolish strategy (emphasis mine):
From day one, the Republicans were never going to support a public health insurance option for everyday Americans. The Republican party staunchly opposed Medicare forty years ago. Despite former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s hope that it would “wither on the vine,” Medicare is now an unassailably popular public health insurance option for seniors. The Republicans and private insurance industry will do everything they can to prevent the American people from having access to another — undeniably superior — public health insurance plan.
The insurance industry desperately wants to protect its “right” to raise prices and take home huge profits — to skim off as large a portion as they can of every dollar spent on health care.
So the insurance industry and Republicans were never going to agree to a public option. What has changed is that the Republican decision to try to block health insurance reform has completely eliminated their leverage over what will be in the final bill.
Meanwhile, Sen. Susan Collins, moderate Republican from Maine, told CNN today that she flatly opposes a triggered public option — apparently because she feels it’s just delaying the inevitable dreaded public option:
Asked on CNN’s State of the Union if the use of the trigger would make inclusion of the public option more acceptable, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, unequivocally replied “no.”
“The problem with trigger is it just delays the public option,” Collins told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, “because the people who are going to be making the determination about whether the market is competitive enough, want the public option.”
Sen. Olympia Snowe, the other senator from Maine, has declared that Pres. Obama should drop the public option entirely — although before this, she had said she could support the trigger idea:
Key senators said Sunday the “public option” favored by House Democrats for healthcare is all but dead, but a pivotal Republican said it’s not dead enough.
President Barack Obama “should take it off the table,” said Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “It would give real momentum to building consensus.”
Snowe, who has been courted by the White House to be the crucial 60th vote for a possible bipartisan healthcare plan, said Obama’s continued support “leaves it open and therefore unpredictable.”
But top presidential adviser David Axelrod said on the same program that the White House isn’t willing to completely drop the idea.
“I’m not willing to accept that it won’t be in the final bill,” Axelrod said. “But this is not the whole of health insurance reform.”
Yes, it’s an essential part, and it makes no sense to take it out, because Republicans aren’t going to vote for any health care reform bill (see above).