He hasn’t even sent the bill to CBO to be scored yet so I’m not sure what we’re supposed to react to here, aside from the left’s success in getting something with a public plan to the floor which (a) may not even have 60 votes behind it and (b) is almost guaranteed to lose The One’s very small fig leaf of bipartisan support as Olympia Snowe walks away (skip ahead to 5:00 for his comments on that). Politically, I don’t see how he had any choice except to cave to progressives. His reelection bid’s already in trouble; if he’d stiffed them on their public-option fetish, he’d be finished. So here’s his attempt at a compromise to save his own ass, featuring a P.O. watered down with a state opt-out clause to try to draw Blue Dogs but with enough tweaks to the tax threshold for “Cadillac plans” to get big labor to stop grumbling about how this bill isn’t “robust” enough.
I’ve written a little about the opt-out scheme before and still don’t understand what advantage states will derive from it. If some sort of federal tax is eventually levied to help pay for ObamaCare’s cost overruns, I take it opt-out states will be exempt, yes? There has to be some benefit to opting out or else the inevitable underselling of private insurers by a public plan that doesn’t have to obey the same rules of finance will create immense political pressure on opt-out states to opt in. So what’s the benefit?