Wednesday, December 2, 2009

One more compromise

Good news for those of you who thought that the battle over the public option was going to result in a version that was too strong and too helpful to millions of Americans. It seems we aren't going to have that problem. First, there was a bit of analysis that said the public option as presently constructed by the Senate won't actually cut costs all that much, then there was the new revelation that they were scrapping what they had in exchange for something even weaker that would lure both Maine Republican Senators. What exactly is that plan? I'd like to tell you Flounder, but the new plan is on double secret probation.
Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), who has been tapped by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to come up with a Plan B approach to the public option controversy that has divided Democrats, has been working closely with liberal and conservative Democrats, as well as Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine).
Carper, a junior member of the Finance Committee, was tight-lipped on the details of his plan, but noted that he has been talking extensively with Snowe. He pointed out that he served with Snowe, and her husband, former Maine Gov. John McKernan (R), in the House.

Snowe favors a trigger proposal, where a public option would go into effect if the private health insurance market falters. The trigger has been soundly rejected by some liberals in Congress.
Whew! I was worried there for a second that a public option might get passed. Now we get the best of both worlds: those who get support a public option get to claim they passed one and those who oppose it get to be secure in the notion that one will never come about because the trigger to enact one will never be reached. Of course, that is, if the super duper new plan is even as "good" as a triggered public option. Hell, the compromise might just be to write "the public option" on a post-it note, put in under a glass case and allow us to view it from afar. It'll do about as much good as current designs of the public option will do.

So there you are: one more compromise that degrades your faith in government and the ability to pass meaningful reform. Actually, I should amend that; it's one more compromise...before a bunch of other compromises. Yeah, we don't even know what those will be yet. I bet Democrats are going to be surprised when they find their base isn't as thrilled with our elected betters as much as our elected betters seem to be thrilled with our elected betters. Ah well, at least we were spared the scourge of a mechanism that might slightly reduce health care costs. It's better that way, we just would have used the savings on another war.

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