The headlines this morning are all about the Obama Administration softening its position on the need for a public option as part of a health care overhaul. Democrats say that it will not pass the House without such a plan and Republicans say that they cannot support any bill that includes it.
The administration has hinted for months now that they could live with out a public option as long as the bill that emerges from the three House committees and two Senate committees some kind of a health plan that will provided completion to private insurers. This could possibly be a co-op, they say.
I think the Los Angeles Times analysis of the move is right on target. The Times noted that, “Obama angered some liberals but took a big step toward winning over moderate Democratic lawmakers — a trade-off that sharply improves the chances Congress will approve the overhaul.”
I also believe that the move takes some of the heat out of the Town Hall Meetings. The public option is a lightning rod issue for those wanting to find the lowest common denominator in this debate. The public option = government-run healthcare = socialism = bad – end of argument.
Let’s hope that this not quiet the debate. Remember, the bill that has emerged from the House is over 1,000 pages in length. There are still enough drastic changes in the bill to keep benefits attorneys and regulators busy for the next 30 years. And, let’s not forget the cost is still estimated to be over $1 trillion.