Consider this a formal admission by The One that his decision to let Congress take the lead on crafting a bill was an epic, epic fail.

Multiple sources close to the process tell CNN that while the plan is uncertain, they are preparing for the possibility they could deliver their own legislation to Capitol Hill sometime after the President Barack Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress Wednesday.

As previously reported by CNN senior congressional correspondent Dana Bash and CNN senior White House correspondent Ed Henry, the so-called trigger option remains very much on the table.

Under a ‘trigger option’, a new government-run health care plan would only go into effect if insurance companies fail to meet certain affordability standards with their own plans…

Sources expect the president to emphasize the message: If Congress passes something now, it will serve as a foundation to pass further reform in the future.

Let no one doubt that he’s deadly serious about passing this: Only a man who’s truly committed would take the wheel of a car headed off a cliff. And yet, there’s some shrewd — and ominous — logic to that boldfaced part. Evidently he’s concluded that the liberals in the House mean business about not supporting a bill that lacks a public option so he’s going to promise them one down the road, whether via the “trigger option,” some alternative plan, or more treacherously, the simple legislative inertia towards expansion once a government program is up and running. No wonder Harry Reid and Obama’s union cronies are suddenly talking up compromise.

Karl made the point yesterday that no Democrat except Obama has a strong incentive to accept a “trigger” compromise, but I’m not sure that’s true. Progressives know that there’s a bad moon rising over next year’s midterms and that this may be their last chance for years to pass some form of universal health care. If the town halls proved anything, it’s that Americans are ferociously suspicious of any statist encroachment on health care; the trick at this point is to break through that resistance by any means necessary and at least establish a policy foothold. Maybe it’ll turn into a public option (or, gulp, single payer) down the road or maybe the GOP will be swept into Congress and undo it all next year, but their dream died once 15 years ago and it’s on life support again now. Anything they can do to keep it alive, in whatever form, is probably a victory. Expect the liberals to play ball.