Despite Conor Clarke’s reasonable suggestion that every blog post that can be written about the public option has already been written, here’s another one.
Here’s the problem: the Administration wants the public option. But it’s not going to give up on health care reform if it doesn’t get it. But it can’t SAY that because then it is negotiating against itself. But it also has to see if it can get a bill out of the Senate to do what it needs to do in conference.
That is, to put it mildly, a formidable messaging and policy problem. No wonder Kathleen Sebelius, who is a very talented administrator and politician, didn’t get it quite right. So what to say now? How about this:
Q: Will President Obama sign a bill without a public option?
A: Chuck, President Obama believes and continues to believe that the best way to reduce costs is through a public option to keep the insurers honest. The American public is sick and tired of insurance companies getting in between them and their doctor. Now, we’ve heard a lot in the last few days about co-ops. But no one knows what they are, or how they will work. I’ve even heard one Senator compare health care to a cheese company. If Senators think that co-ops can be as effective as a public option in reducing people’s insurance bills, then they had better come out and show us why. Put up or shut up.
This puts the burden back on the co-op supporters — or should I say, co-op supporter, because so far only Kent Conrad seems to think that they are useful. it shows the left that you are committed, while not closing the door if there is a real proposal there.
It’s the Jerry Maguire strategy: show us the money.