Monday, October 26, 2009

What is the Problem? It's a Public Option, Not a Communist Conspiracy

As a Canuck observing the health care debate state side, I've been really shaking my head with disappointment and confusion. Sometimes there's hope of a public option, sometimes something happens for them to all start running scared. Some come up with ideas to replace the public option, like subsidizing lower income families and then they worry about costs. Well, the public option would be alot cheaper. Our single-payer system is cheaper than the American mess of a health care system such as it is.

I read Dammit Janet's and The Galloping Beaver's posts last night about President Obama not only waffling on the public option, but actively discouraging the public option, according to an article at Huffington Post on Saturday. And for what? To please Senator Olympia Snowe? Funny, because she seems to be caring more about what her fellow Republicans are thinking about her and maybe even what Fox News says about her than whatever President Obama is concerned about.

I can't believe I'm going to use this phrase: in the words of Dr. Phil, this is the tail wagging the dog here. Obama is backing out of the public option to please a GOP senator, a senator who is a member of the minority, no less. As the folks in the video below indicate, it's time to show some leadership Mr. Obama, it's up to you to either convince Senator Olympia Snowe to pay more attention to the constituents in Maine who clearly favour a public option and less attention to her fellow GOPers and to Fox News, or just leave her out of the negotiations completely.

Perhaps you would be better served to convince your fellow Democrats like Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana who have doubts.

You are close to getting the 60 votes you need to override a filibuster. Don't back out now.

See, Mr. President? Listen to  your supporters and listen to the members of your party. Keep this campaign promise. Show some credibility. Show some leadership.

In today's New York Times, Senate majority leader, Harry Reid (D-Nevada) announced there will be a public option in the proposed health care bill, however it leaves room for states to opt out  should they so choose. 

I’ve concluded, with the support of the White House, Senators Dodd and Baucus, that the best way to move forward is to include a public option with the opt-out provision for states,”

YEESSHH!! A step in the right direction, but still pandering to the GOP. Nevertheless, it is believed that this public option presented in this way should pass. According to yesterday's New York Times, John McCain ever so begrudgingly admitted this could fly:

I think the Democrats have the votes, and in the House, Blue Dogs bark but never bite,” Mr. McCain said on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” using the nickname for conservative Democrats . “So I don’t think they have a problem over in the House side. In the Senate I think the Democrats are very aware that they don’t want a repeat of the Clinton failure in 1994. So I think it’s very likely they will get something through. But it’s not clear to me what it is.”

So, Mr. President, it looks like you could get your 60 votes for a public option. All you have to do his be a mensch and a leader and stand behind the public option. Never mind bi-partisanship, the GOP will never extend the same courtesy; they have made this plain. Even Olympia Snowe is not playing ball, in spite of the fact the state she represents favors a public option. Never mind the insurance companies, they will survive.  Do it because it's the right thing to do. Do it, because it was a campaign promise. Do it, because your mentor, the late Ted Kennedy wanted health care reform and no doubt would have wanted you to push the public option. Health care reform was something he strived for in his 40 year career.  He took time out of his treatments to endorse you: don't let him down. 

UPDATE: According to Huffington Post this afternoon, Harry Reid has announced that a public option of some kind will be in.

According to a CNN report, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs has stated that President Obama is now behind a public option: 

"He supports the public option because it has the potential to play an essential role in holding insurance companies accountable through choice and competition," Gibbs said.

Keep going! Every other industrialized country has a government option and covers all of its' citizens; it's about time the United States does the same, once and for all.

Message to Ms. Snowe: Stop being so afraid! It's a public option, not some communist conspiracy. You say you want health care reform? Here's your chance to prove it. Listen more to your constituents and less to fellow GOPers.

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