Well, it seems like the public option, a long coveted provision by liberal Democrats on health care is making a comeback. President Obama announced that he would like to see a government-run option to compete with private insurance, which represents another step towards socialized medicine (via The Hill):
“Public programs like Medicare often deliver care more cost-effectively by curtailing administrative overhead and securing better prices from providers,” Obama writes in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
“The public plan did not make it into the final legislation. Now, based on experience with the ACA, I think Congress should revisit a public plan to compete alongside private insurers in areas of the country where competition is limited,” writes the president.
The new embrace from the president also comes amid what appears to be a concerted push by the Democratic Party to rally around the public option.
It’s a shift that reflects how the party has tilted leftward during the Obama years.
The public option was included in the original Obamacare package when the legislation was being debated in 2009-10. The proposal met some opposition with Democrats, like then-Sen. Max Baucus, who killed the provision in the Senate bill. At the time, Baucus voiced his concern that the provision would be an obstacle to mustering 60 votes in the Senate for passage, and that it would block more reform on health care down the road.
So, I guess this is the “what the hell, let’s go for it” option, huh? I mean there is absolutely no chance that this is going through a Republican-controlled Congress. Zero. Moreover, if revisiting it is an indication that Obama always wanted the provision in the original bill, which was axed to ensure passage, then—as a principle progressive lefty, he should’ve fought for it. If it fails, then maybe it’s an indication that the law was shoddy from the start. Oh wait–it was! The exchanges have wasted billions in taxpayer dollars. The co-ops are a complete and total disaster. Out of the 23 that were set up, only seven remain—and virtually all of them could collapse by the end of this year.
What about costs? That was one of the huge selling points of this legislation. We were supposed to save trillions if this bill was enacted. In reality, premiums are skyrocketing, the enrollment projections by 2016 were off…by 24 million, and some of the largest health care providers are fleeing from the Obamacare markets due to accruing horrendous losses. Even the low-cost Obamacare plans are set to see a double-digit premium spike. The law is so miserably unaffordable that Americans are now opting to pay the penalty to remain uninsured because it’s more economical. Ed aptly noted that tossing in your lot for a rehashed debate on a public option to save this miserable piece of big government liberalism is akin to saying that another iceberg was needed to save the RMS Titanic.
Last, this is either poor political theater or shameless pandering to the vocal left wing of the Democratic Party that gave Clinton a stronger challenge than projected during the Democratic primaries. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders wants socialized medicine. A public option would be one step closer to accomplishing that goal, so Obama is playing footsie with a public option to shore up support with these gullible fools (they did think that Sanders could win). Clinton has long supported universal health care. It could serve as a nice aperitif for those still on the fence about her, but offer some sense of direction as to what a Clinton administration might do concerning Obamacare after Barack leaves 1600. Clinton also supported a public option back in February. It’s a nice reminder to Democrats from the president
Also, there’s the senioritis aspect at play—he’s out in January 2017. Why not rehash the most left wing portion of my bill that had to be cut in order to pass in the first place…I’m done with politics soon anyway?
Regardless, he knows it’s going to fail which makes this all the more offensive, and somewhat makes me pity members of the Left who actually thought that the aims of Obamacare, were actually going to happen. I mean even Obama’s own speechwriting staff shared a chuckle recollecting the “you can keep it” lie regarding health care coverage. So, the silver lining is that this initiative is dead on arrival. The bad news is that a far more left wing Democratic Party is emerging—and they could win this November. So, we have a short/long game predicament before us.