ObamaCare: The inevitable shrinking public option
posted at 10:50 pm on December 8, 2009 by Karl
Technically, the current proposal does not drop a “public option” from ObamaCare, but it is a ghost of its original form:
Democratic aides said that the group had tentatively agreed on a proposal that would replace a government-run health care plan with a menu of new national, privately-run insurance plans modeled after the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, which covers more than eight million federal workers, including members of Congress, and their dependents.
A government-run plan would be retained as a fall-back option, the aides said, and would be triggered only if the new proposal failed to meet targets for providing affordable insurance coverage to a specified number of people.
Allahpundit asked how fiery will nutroots outrage at the Senate’s betrayal will be tomorrow, but the outrageous outrage is already building. FireDogLake’s Jon Walker lays out just how watered down this proposal may be: (1) the Medicaid expansion has completely been dropped; the Medicare buy-in may not really be a buy-in… or really Medicare; and (3) the non-Medicare non-buy-in may be a stopgap for three years only. At dKos, McJoan is less angry, or perhaps just more resigned. She and FDL’s Jane Hamsher are none too thrilled about the prospect of the Senate bill being forced on the House without a conference, either.
All of which makes for some nice schadenfreude, but it is no surprise, and a fleeting pleasure at best. The Obama administration (via Rahm Emanuel) has been open to neutering the public option with a trigger that won’t get pulled since January. The administration knows that ObamaCare’s mandates are sufficient to take over the US healthcare system. Joe Lieberman will likely not filibuster this latest proposal, so the GOP will have to decide whether they are really going to become the obstructionists the Democrats already claim they are.