The public option is in - Macleans.ca
 

The public option is in


 

Progressive Democrats seemed happy with Nevada Senator and Majority Leader Harry Reid’s decision to include a public option in the Senate’s health care reform bill. Coupled with a House of Representatives’ bill that will no doubt also include a public option, it seems to indicate Barack Obama stands a good chance of passing a meaningful reform package before the end of his first year in power. And while it is hard to predict the final outcome, it seems reasonable to assume that a public option will be in the final bill Obama will sign.

This will not happen without some uncertainty and acrimony in the next few weeks. The left remains skeptical that a watered-down public option will not sufficiently reduce costs and may not be available to enough Americans for it to make a difference. It is a legitimate argument, but key Senate liberals like Chris Dodd of Connecticut and Chuck Schumer from New York are already in push-back mode. As for the Republicans, GOP senator Olympia Snowe has expressed her dissatisfaction with Reid’s proposal, stating that she is opposed to a public option in the final bill. Snowe would rather include a trigger for a public option, which would come into being if health insurers fail to reduce costs. If she maintains that position, it would eradicate any hope for nominal bipartisanship. The symbolism of having Snowe on side may explain why stories circulated over the weekend suggesting the Obama White House prefers a trigger.

Still, the Democratic leadership in the Senate appears to have concluded that the Republicans are stuck in a set position to say no to any Democratic proposal and any compromise with the GOP Maine senator is no longer worth the effort. If, as expected, there is no filibuster and a vote takes place in the next few weeks, it is likely Snowe will vote no along with some conservative Blue Dog Democrats. This would be bipartisanship in reverse, with Democrats joining the minority Republicans. Regardless, it is safe to assume that Democrats will have the votes necessary to adopt healthcare reform, even as the far-right presses ahead with charges of impending socialism under Obama.

The Republicans are on the verge of being outmanoeuvred. Party identification with the Republicans is already at its lowest total in 26 years and, with the far-right dominating the headlines, more moderate Republicans are staying on the sidelines. Today’s developments have to be encouraging to Obama because they show a growing consensus among key players in the debate. Some Republicans could still try to take some credit for the reforms, but it is unlikely they will break ranks. After all, the GOP’s opposition to a public option is what has divided the two major parties from the outset. But if the reforms gain favour with voters, the GOP will have made the worst possible political calculation.


 

The public option is in

  1. "Conservatives continue to outnumber moderates and liberals in the American populace in 2009, confirming a finding that Gallup first noted in June. Forty percent of Americans describe their political views as conservative, 36% as moderate, and 20% as liberal." Gallup Oct 26 '09

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/123854/Conservatives-M

    Republican party might be imploding at the moment but conservatism is doing just fine. I would not be so sure that "it is safe to assume that Democrats will have the votes necessary". If all Dems are like Parisella, who think 40% of the population equals 'far-right' than maybe public option will pass but I bet there are plenty of Senators who can read polls. I think we are about to see some real fights now that actual bills exist and can be used as examples.

    What I also find interesting is that Repubs have a fringe. Where is Dem fringe? Obama has 9/11 Truthers and Mao devotees working for him. I think Obama's attempt to sound moderate but govern from left is going to end as well as Clinton's attempt to do same thing in 1993-94.

    • Funny, I thought Obama was attempting to sound left and govern from the centre.

    • There is no fringe in the Democratic party . Lyndon Larouche , the left wingnut, is out of the party . When will Republicans get rid of their wingnuts?

      • Yeah, and there are no clouds in the sky either. Who in the world are you trying to kid?

    • "governing from left is going to end as well as Clinton's attempt to do same thing in 1993-94"

      That's good news! So, by 2016 Obama will have learned to govern better, America will be at peace and running surpluses, the economy will be swinging, and prosperity will reign!

      (not that I don't see what you're saying… I just thought the whole "If he's not careful, Obama will end up leading America to where Clinton led them" interpretation of your comment was kinda funny).

  2. Reid is from Nevada

  3. Reid is a Mormon, but he represents Nevada, not Utah.

  4. Seems to be a whole lot of liberal wishful thinking going on in this blog post, since it's hard to see how Harry Reid gets the 60 votes he needs to achieve cloture on any final bill that includes a "public option". Snowe is now out. Lieberman, too. Others in the Democratic Senate caucus are hinting loudly that they'll go in this direction, too.

    Lots of people are trying to figure out just what Reid is up to. From the looks of it, maybe he knew he didn't have the support of 60 Senators even without a public option, so he might as well go down looking good with his left-wing base.

    I was also trying to figure out just how popular the so-called "public option" really was with the American public, given Nancy Pelosi's recent campaign to call it something else. I mean, that's always a sign that something's popular, isn't it?

  5. I wonder if it ever occurs to Parisella that all the Republican senators together with a bunch of Democrat senators can't possibly just be "the far right".

    Unless, of course, he thinks that "the far right" represents the majority of the United States.

    That and the obvious "Utah Senator and Majority Leader Harry Reid" blunder make me think this article is even less thought out than his usual.

    • That's why I called it "liberal" wishful thinking. It's how liberals think. But, wait, you're not supposed to say that about anyone in the precious media because they're so professional and objective, aren't they.

    • Yes, I find the expression "the far fight" to be a disingenuous attempt to delegitimize the opposition, sort of like the way the left uses the word "neo"-con. The side on board with the public option is the "left", the side opposed is the "far-right". Apparently, there are people on the right that are being represented by nobody, according to Parisella, whose opinions remain identical to those of the left. What a laugh.

      At least Jamie Weinman knows Reid is from Nevada.

      • The right is silenced and intimidated by the far right like Limbaugh , Beck and Palin republicans. That is evident !!

        • Oh my God, free speaking conservatives are "intimidating" free thinking Americans. The horror is so self evident, gosh darn it!

          • Hope America will soon move to another debate than healthcare . What about energy and the environment ? A new stimulus ?

  6. "America will be at peace and running surpluses, the economy will be swinging, and prosperity will reign!"

    The things you list are due to Republican controlled Congress elected in '94 – the first one in over forty years. If Obama policies are going to lead to another Contract with America I am all for Obama to continue governing as is.

  7. I agree that that White House and Congress have spent an inordinate amount of time on health care reform, and it's still unclear if a resolution will be achieved soon.

    As in Canada, I think most Americans are worried about the economy. I think they should also be worried about Afghanistan and global security.

    The fact is that Obama might have picked a bad time to direct so much attention at a huge new government spending program. Take care of the economy first, use the resulting recovery to do new things. Instead, he's spending like there's no tomorrow, and not getting questionable outcomes as a result.

    Maybe not quite the hope and change that everyone was expecting.

    • A legitimate argument but the economy and health care costs and energy all are interconnected . Obama had to take them on . That what we expected . A President with better than average talent .