What We Don't Know About The Federalist Or Any Public Option

Chris Bowers writes:

Many of these progressives were eager to support the opt-out because they believed it would ease passage of the bill, create political problems for Republicans, and that few states would opt-out. However, there were always two major problems with the opt-out, problems that have not been alleviated during the five days since the start of the craze: 1. No one knows what sort of public option states would be opting out of. [. . .] If we don't even know what type of public option is in the opt-out compromise, there is no justification for claiming it is a better compromise than Senator Schumer's "level playing field" compromise. For all we know, it might be worse.

This is misguided, at least as directed at me. I am for a robust (Medicare +5) Federalist Public Option. The reason I am for it is precisely because it is better than the level playing field option. If it is not robust, and is just a level playing field option, then obviously I will not be in favor of it over the national level playing field option.

As for whether it gains us votes, those of us who think it will gain votes (either for cloture or for final passage) are applying logical reasoning to the situation. To wit, some Dem Senators have talked about the effect of a public option in their states. Senators like Kent Conrad, Ben Nelson and Blanche Lincoln. Addressing their parochial concerns with an opt out provision seems the best compromise for getting their votes (at least for cloture.) Chris' basic argument is "we don't know." No kidding. Nobody knows for sure. But that is hardly a response to the arguments presented. Here's a question for Chris, what if the only way to get a robust public option was through adding an opt out? Would he oppose that and still favor the level playing field option? Hey, I get to ask questions too.

Speaking for me only

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    I hate to break it to Chris (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by ruffian on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 01:23:02 PM EST
    but we are never going to know what is in or out of any proposed options or compromises. All we get to see from the outside are the public strategies and bargaining positions. And all we can do is state what we support, in any forum available to us, and engage in our armchair quarterbacking exercises.

    Such is my level of cynicism on this fine Monday.

    And then I read your comment (none / 0) (#5)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 01:28:37 PM EST
    And realize that even though I've been mostly absent, nothing has changed therefore I probably haven't missed much :)

    You have not (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by ruffian on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 01:33:51 PM EST
    Get back to your housecleaning - it will give you a lot more satisfaction!

    I am with you on this opt out approach (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by BobTinKY on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 02:28:10 PM EST
    It allows us to talk now about the details of a strong public option.  When one of the recalcitrants start to hem and haw we can tell them "your concerns are taken care of, opt out now let's get back to strengthening the public plan."

    Without the opt out we will be endlessly evaluating evermore watered down versions of something called a public option.  And, like you, I seriously doubt any state will ultimately opt out.  It's a Trojan Horse of a compromise that provides all the cover needed for the weak Dems to vote for cloture if not the final bill.    

    It is intended to provide cover... (none / 0) (#1)
    by Salo on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 12:58:46 PM EST
    ...for the Blue Dogs.  If they really need cover is an open question. And you might also want to figure out who they need cover from. voters or donors?

    The more robust you make a (none / 0) (#2)
    by Anne on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 01:11:09 PM EST
    "public" option that the vast majority of individuals are not eligible for, the greater the likelihood, in my opinion, that the private insurance companies will (continue to) hose those (trapped) in the private plans.  And they aren't going to wait until 2013 to do it, either.

    Make it robust, sure, but make is available to everyone.

    If we have the votes for that (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 01:13:11 PM EST
    I am all for it.

    I am not going to rehash the camel's nose under the tent argument.

    I think that discussion on this, amongst us anyways, is pretty much exhausted.

    I respect your position and urge you to argue for it.

    My view is different about where we are right now.


    Don't you ever wonder why (none / 0) (#10)
    by Anne on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 01:47:16 PM EST
    Medicare was never considered that camel's nose?

    Or why there was never an effort to just expand it down in five-year or ten-year increments to see what might happen?

    I think the answer is simple: the health industry companies don't want it, Wall Street doesn't like it, and both sectors are giving oceans of cash to legislators to make sure the status quo lives on.

    So, if, in all this time, the camel hasn't been able to get more than a nose into the tent, I think the chances are slim to none that any "public" option that ever sees the light of day will advance the camel any farther than a nostril hair or two.


    No wonder at all (none / 0) (#12)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 01:59:05 PM EST
    Obama never allowed it in the conversation.

    Yep (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 01:31:53 PM EST
    The camel's nose (Washington Basic Health) has been present in Washington State for many, many years, but has never changed from being available only to those who are at or below 200% of the poverty line....in fact, along with having a waiting list a mile long, it's now being cut.

    So camel's nose, schmamel's nose.  In other words, I agree with you.  It's more the camel's hiney than his nose.


    But who set that mark? (none / 0) (#8)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 01:37:38 PM EST
    And why is it stuck there?  That's insane, but this country has completely fallen off the wagon when it comes to acknowledging any poverty lines or even giving a rat's a$$.  We've been completely drunk on credit.

    I would think (none / 0) (#9)
    by lilburro on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 01:45:23 PM EST
    Chris would support a Medicare+5 Federalist option over a level playing field option.

    So...why is Obama being so silent about it?  

    Personally I believe Obama should've spent this entire time ganging up on Nelson, Lincoln, and Conrad to ensure they vote for cloture when the bill comes to them with the public option in it.  That he doesn't appear to be doing this as we approach conference is a weak.

    I feel like I have no idea what is going on.

    Would he? (none / 0) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Oct 12, 2009 at 01:58:25 PM EST
    He does not say.