11.30.2009 0

The Unsinkable Public Option

  • On: 12/09/2009 10:13:42
  • In: Health Care
  • By Robert Romano

    Harry Reid is prepared to go down — as the ship attempts to stay afloat.

    Late yesterday, there was a flurry of reports from Washington that Senate Democrats had reached agreement to abandon the highly unpopular “public option,” caving in to public opposition and jettisoning the flotsam.

    But then, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid — apparently not in the loop of Senators who had decided amongst themselves to lighten the load — rushed out a statement declaring the so-called “public option” was still in the bill.

    Said Reid in a prepared statement, “I asked Senators Schumer and Pryor to work with some of the most moderate and most progressive members of our diverse caucus, and tonight they have come to a consensus. It is a consensus that includes a public option…”

    Thanks for the clarification, Harry. The dour Majority Mis-Leader was clearly a little miffed at the apparent mini-revolt.

    According to Truthout.org, Reid said “Let me just say, we have seen all kinds of articles in newspapers that Senator Schumer, Senator Pryor, I have said things… [like] the public option is gone. It’s not true. Ok. Everyone understand that.”

    Understood. The truth is, that after reports that the “public option” had been removed circulated D.C., it had looked increasingly likely that the Senate Democrats had steered clear of certain political doom in a nick of time.

    That the Majority had heard the concerns of the American people, and abandoned their plan to take over the nation’s entire health system. Today, a staggering 51 percent of voters remain opposed to the bill, with only 41 percent in favor, according to Rasmussen Reports.

    But, Reid assures his constituents, “It’s not true.” In other words, they still don’t get it.

    Republicans say the plan will cost $2.5 trillion over ten years once fully implemented, and oppose the creation of a government-run health system which they say would increase the cost of private insurance, ration health care away from seniors on Medicare, and break the taxpayer bank with trillions of dollars in deficit-spending.

    Senators Joe Lieberman and Blanche Lincoln have said they would join the Republican filibuster of the bill if the “public option” was included. And so too had Senator Ben Nelson said he would join the filibuster if federally-funded abortions were not removed, and now his amendment has failed by a vote of 54-45.

    He wasn’t happy. After the vote, he said, “It makes it harder to be supportive.”

    Now, Lincoln has joined the Gang of 10 that supports a “public option” tied to a trigger, forgetting her recent promises made to her constituents. But without Nelson or Lieberman, Reid will still need two Republicans to get to 60 votes.

    Republican Senator of Maine, Olympia Snowe, has said she would support a triggered “public option”. If she climbs aboard the “consensus” — along with her colleague, Senator Susan Collins — Reid would have the votes needed to end debate.

    That is, if he can persuade them to go down with him into the Electoral Abyss.

    Robert Romano is the ALG Senior News Editor.

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