Monday, September 21, 2009

Public Option Alive

President Barack Obama has never previously said the public option must be in the health care bill. Senator Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi have promised the public option in the bill. Obama's Joint Session of Congress speech left progressives wondering if the public option was being abandoned.

"The public option -- the public option is only a means to that end," the President said. "And we should remain open to other ideas that accomplish our ultimate goal."

Administration officials implied a health care bill without the public option would be acceptable.

Rahm Emanuel's comments to the Wall Street Journal created a progressive backlash.

WASHINGTON -- It is more important that health-care legislation inject stiff competition among insurance plans than it is for Congress to create a pure government-run option, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said.

"The goal is to have a means and a mechanism to keep the private insurers honest," he said in an interview. "The goal is non-negotiable; the path is" negotiable.

Kathleen Sebelius and Robert Gibbs made similar comments on the Sunday talk shows. The White House held private meetings with health industries companies and refused to make the visitor logs public. Obama attempted to have Tom Daschle appointed as Health and Human Services secretary. Daschle is a paid advisor for UnitedHealth and Tennessee Hospital Association. He has also worked as a lobbyist. Daschle has been going to the White House in attempts to steer Obama from the public option. To make matters worst: a memo of the deal the White House and Max Baucus struck with the pharmaceutical industry has been leaked to Huffington Post reporter Ryan Grim.

The Baucus bill has been greeted with contempt. Senator Jay Rockefeller said he won't support the Baucus mark up.

"There are only about 4 to 7 [Co-ops] that exist [nationwide]. And I’m very skeptical… of starting up a system that doesn’t work."

Rep. Anthony Weiner called the bill "dead on arrival."

President Obama has had a sudden change of heart. The Hill reports Obama gave a near endorsement of the public option.

"I absolutely do not believe that it's dead," Obama told Univision. "I think that it's something that we can still include as part of a comprehensive reform effort."

Blogger Jesse Livermore predicted in August that the Baucus bill would fail. I agree that the bill will pass by reconciliation.

Side note: Health care industry officials that met privately with the White House.

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