Public Option is Dead
Progressive bloggers can quit writing about the public option. Health & HS Sec. Kathleen Sebelius and Press Sec. Robert Gibbs went on the Sunday talk shows and made it clear the public health insurance option was dead.
"I think what's important is choice and competition and I'm convinced at the end of the day, the plan will have both of those. But [a public option] is not the essential element," said Sebelius.
"What I am saying is the bottom line for this for the president is, what we have to have is choice and competition in the insurance market. Again, if you are in a place in this country where you only get one choice, how in the world are you going to be able to convince anybody that you are driving down costs when you don't have to compete against anything."
Notice Gibbs talked about the private market and made no mention of the public option. Today, Obama reached out to Senators Charles Grassley, Olympia Snowe and Mike Enzi. The President dumped the public option and Republicans still won't vote a weakened version of health care reform. Any astute policial observer knew this was going to happen. Now the White House is pretending they didn't give up on the public option.
Health care dominated the morning briefing with White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, who denied reports that the White House and Democrats are giving up on a bipartisan reform bill.
“Absolutely not,” Gibbs said. “We continue to be hopeful that we can get bipartisan support and will continue to work with those that are interested in doing that.”
“Our goal is to get this done in a bipartisan way,” he said. “There are several more weeks to go in potential negotiations between Republicans and Democrats. I don’t know why we would short circuit any of that now.”
Why does a President with supermajorities in the House and Senate need Republican votes? Obama's attempts at bipartisanship have given the Republicans operating room to attack. To make matters worst for Obama: a Rasmussen poll found only 34 percent of voters support health care reform without a public option. Only 9 percent of voters "strongly" support reform without the public option. Obama needed the public option when he started pushing for reform. Obama needs it more now.
Obama's political strategy was to appeal to Republicans and hold a townhall meeting that let tea baggers rip into him. Obama did not care about progressive supoorter or the Congressional Democrats that had to face hostile townhall meetings. Obama operates under the delusion America is the New Republic and Democratic Leadership Council. Both TNR and DLC have advocated bashing the Left and appeasing the Right as the best way for a Democrat to govern. Obama has put that theory to the test. It turned out to be a massive failure.
The American people elected supermajorities in Congress. Obama opted to appease Republicans and put no pressure on corporate-friendly Democrats. Obama never voiced complaint about Max Baucus shutting Democrats out of writing the health care bill. Rahm Emanuel was allowed to speak out against the public option. If this is change then I don't want to believe.