If the Supreme Court strikes down the mandate, it's time to push the public option

If the Court strikes down the individual mandate, health insurance company lobbyists and executives will swarm Capitol Hill seeking to have the Act amended to remove the requirement that they insure people with preexisting medical conditions. They’ll argue that without the mandate they can’t afford to cover preexisting conditions.

But the requirement to cover preexisting conditions has proven to be so popular with the public that Congress will be reluctant to scrap it.

This opens the way to a political bargain. Insurers might be let off the hook, for example, only if they support allowing every American, including those with preexisting conditions, to choose Medicare, or something very much like Medicare. In effect, what was known during the debate over the bill as the “public option.”