Absence Of Evidence
Regular readers know that my speculative view was that President Obama never really cared about whether a public insurance program would be included in the vaunted exchanges. If they were in, he was ok with that. If they weren't, he was ok with that too. He mouthed a preference for the "public option," but never did anything to try and get it in (by contrast, he fought hard for a tax on so-called "Cadillac" health insurance plans.) I never paid much attention to the "Obama dealt the public option away" stories. Whether he did or didn't, by making clear he was not going to fight for it, he made its demise pretty likely.
That said, Jonathan Bernstein's questioning of the "Obama killed the public option" story bothers me -- not because he questions the story, but because his claims regarding what he accomplished are clearly overblown. The title of Bernstein's piece is "Obama never secretly killed the public option. Itís a myth." Bernstein has no way of knowing this. What he attempts to do, with some success, is undermine the story that it has been demonstrated that Obama in fact "killed the public option." I think he did a good job of debunking that claim. What he has not done is provide any evidence that "Obama did not kill the public option." I do not think "the President killed the public option." But I am positive Jonathan Bernstein has not disproven the claim.
Speaking for me only
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