White House Ready to Euthanize the ‘Public Option’?

Facing pressure from Republicans and–imagine that–the American people, the Obama administration hints that it may pull the plug on the ‘public option’

With such a great sales pitch from our supremely eloquent president,
I wonder why the White House wasn’t able to sell the “public option”?

According to an Associated Press report, Health and Human Services Sec. Kathleen Sebelius has hinted that the White House may be preparing to drop the “public option” from its plans to reform the American health care system.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that government alternative to private health insurance is “not the essential element” of the administration’s health care overhaul. The White House would be open to co-ops, she said, a sign that Democrats want a compromise so they can declare a victory.

Not the essential element? Really? Only a month ago, in an op-ed piece penned for U.S. News & World Report barely even a month ago, Sebelius wrote that “creation of a public health insurance option” will help solve problems like lack of choice among health care plans, “skyrocketing” health insurance premiums, and “ever-increasing deductibles and out-of-pocket costs.”

“The health care status quo is unsustainable and unacceptable,” Sebelius wrote on July 13, touting a public health insurance option that would “create competition that will bring premiums down and make health care affordable,” would “keep insurance companies honest and help cut waste from the system,” and would provide “needed stability and security, so you will always have an affordable healthcare option even if you lose your job, change jobs, move, or have a pre-existing medical condition.”

To hear it from Sebelius just over a month ago, the public option sounds pretty important. Yet, just today, she says it’s not essential? It must be nice for the Democrats to have a set of core convictions, values, and principles so conveniently malleable depending upon the political winds.

For the record, I wonder what some of Sebelius’ Democratic Party colleagues were saying, and if they deemed the public option to be so gosh-darned expendable.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY):

The healthcare reform bill that emerges from Congress this year will include a government-run public health insurance option, regardless of the bipartisan negotiations seeking a compromise in the Senate, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Sunday.

“Make no mistake about it, the president is for this strongly. There will be a public option in the final bill,” Schumer said on CBS News’s “Face the Nation.”

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA):

Asked by HuffPost if she would allow a reform package without a public option out of the House, she responded: “It’s not a question of allow. It wouldn’t have the votes.”

The bill would lack the votes because the GOP generally opposes Democratic reform proposals, and the 77 member Congressional Progressive Caucus — rarely heard from on the Hill — has been particularly vocal in its commitment to oppose any reform that doesn’t include a public option. The public plan’s popularity extends beyond progressives and is broadly popular with the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus and even two-fifths of Blue Dogs, the conservative Democratic coalition.

Pelosi, during the press conference, also rejected a compromise proposal by Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) to create private, nonprofit, regional health care cooperatives instead of a national public option.

Pelosi wasn’t having it: “Not instead of a public option, no,” she said.

Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA):

Still, the congressman explained that, no matter the calls for compromise, he simply would not budge when it came to the public option, an emphatic statement received by this Philadelphia crowd with roaring applause.

Sen. John Rockefeller (D-WV):

“What I have to worry about is, are co-ops going to be effective taking on these gigantic insurance companies? And from everything I know from people who represent them, the answer is a flat ‘no.’”

“If you are going to fight the insurance industry with a system that might fail, I sort of feel an obligation to know about that and to learn about that,” Rockefeller said. “I can’t vote now or later for something in which the big insurance companies are going to beat the tar out of what are totally nonexistent health care co-ops.”

“If it is a choice between getting a good health care bill and doing it in reconciliation, I will take that in a shot,” Rockefeller said. “What I don’t like is no result. And if it takes more time to get a result — even if has to be done through reconciliation as a last resort — don’t think I am going to lose sleep over that.”

Rep. Eliot Engel(D-NY):

Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) called the inclusion of the public plan “a line in the sand.”

“We’re trying to provide health care to 47 million uninsured people,” Engel said. “I believe the way to help them is to have a robust public option with plans tied to Medicare.”

Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA):

“Of the thousands of issues we address in this legislation, only a handful give us an opportunity to make real progress,” said Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee who pushed to protect the public plan. “This is one of them.”

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA):

Consensus against a public option among Blue Dogs is not uniform, says Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.). Waxman heads one of the three House panels that put together the House reform plan.

“It’s not a correct statement to say they’re against a public option. They want some changes in the public option,” Waxman says, speaking at the press conference with Pelosi. “Some would prefer not to have a public option, but we have to bring everybody together, because a large part of our Democratic Caucus wants a public option, as does the President of the United States.”

Jim Cooper (D-TN):

A key conservative House Democrat threw his support on Monday to a public health care option without a so-called “trigger” that could prevent it from being implemented.

“I’m for a public option. I like Chuck Schumer’s approach. It does not have a trigger in it,” said Rep. Jim Cooper (Tenn.), the vice chairman of the Blue Dog Health Care Task Force.

On Saturday, Cooper told constituents at a town hall on health care almost exactly the same thing. “We should be for it, just like President Obama’s letter says,” Cooper told a voter in response to a question about the public option under consideration as part of the health care reform.

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA):

“The Senate health committee continues to make steady progress in marking up comprehensive health reform legislation. We have already produced a very robust Prevention and Public Health title, which I took the lead in drafting. And, yesterday, we began marking up the Coverage title.

This bill will bring major changes to America’s health system.

By emphasizing prevention and public health, it will help to recreate America as a genuine wellness society.

It will dramatically reduce the number of people without insurance.

And it will include a public option – something that, for the first time, will ensure competition and give consumers a real choice.”

Howard Dean:

When asked about compromising on the public-option provision in order to win a reform package, he said “we have already compromised” by leaving single-payer health care off the table from the start.

As a result, “The only piece of reform left worth doing is the public option,” he said.

And that’s just what I could wrangle up with a few spare minutes’ time. Listen, folks, every single one of you concerned Americans out there, those of you who feel powerless, who despair in thinking that we have somehow lost control of our nation, should be extremely proud of yourselves and what you are doing. Yes, the time and effort you put into your reasoned arguments has been important, and yes, the passion with which you delivered them has been equally so — but, to borrow a phrase from our reeling Health and Human Services secretary, neither your volume nor your reason has been the “essential element” here.

What has been absolutely essential is your courage, your willingness to throw yourselves headfirst outside your comfort zones. Many of you are getting involved for the first time, attending a town meeting for the first time, injecting your informed opinion in that watercooler conversation at work for the first time, and confronting an elected official in defense of your freedom and liberty for the first time. That, friends and neighbors, has been the most essential element of all of this. The American people have shown, like never before, that they are no longer in slumber, that they are awake and prepared to fight.

The health care debate is not over. The ‘public option’ will be reincarnated in some form or another, just as the so-called ‘Fairness Doctrine’ has been reincarnated in the new Chief Diversity Officer at the FCC (more on that later, I’m sure). Do not stop listening. Do not stop reading. Do not stop fighting.

Prove me right that the overreaching tendencies of this Congress and this administration will come back to bite them. Prove me right that Obama’s presidency and the Democratic Party’s supermajority will, in the long term, strengthen the United States of America in the same way someone who survives a car wreck has a newfound respect for life. Prove me right that this nation is a center-right nation, is filled with people clamoring for a return to the days of our founders’ values, of common sense, of self-governance and a laissez faire attitude on Capitol Hill.

George Washington, in winning the American Revolution, fought a defensive war. He struck at the British when their lines were stretched or they were the most vulnerable, then retreated artfully so as to strike again another day. On cap and trade we struck, and now the bill may be shelved. On health care reform we have struck, and the teeth are being extracted as we speak. Let’s keep moving, let’s keep picking our battles, and let’s keep fighting.

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Comments

  1. Linda says:

    I trust the American people won't get complacent with this and settle. They need to scrap THE ENTIRE PLAN!!!

  2. Sharon says:

    I have read that provisions concerning end of life counseling have already been included in the stimulus bill. I have no proof of that. Similarly, I read that making medical records available electronically is also part of the stimulus bill. Does anyone know the real story here?

  3. Dr. Shawna Murray MD says:

    I agree that the entire plan needs to be taken down to bare bones and built up again. There is no value added for insurance company involvement. They should be prosecuted/responsible for their malignant acts which have only increased the frustration and disease burden in the population. There should be a planned obsolescence of the companies with everyone finally ending up in the single-payer pool.

  4. MORE D THAN MD says:

    Dr Shawna Murray (D)

  5. Anonymous says:

    I am hoping they are not going to do some fancy repackaging simply to make public option more attractive under the name of "co-op". The bottom line being if the not-for-profit co-op plan is far cheaper than brand-name private policies the companies will fold and eventually leave us with only one plan available. Even so, having it run by a non-government entity is an improvement so long as it doesn't become a monopoly.

  6. goddessdivine says:

    The "AstroTurf" has spoken. And we will rise again when, like you said, this health care scheme is reincarnated/recycled in the coming years. Don't put away those pitchforks folks. This is only the beginning. After all, we still have at least three and a half years left of the most liberal president this country has ever seen. We can only imagine what else he has up his sleeve.

    Can't wait to hear your thoughts on this Diversity Czar. (What a load of crap….)

  7. Anonymous says:

    If things go the wrong way up there on Fool's Hill, I will continue with plans to secure health insurance for myself in another country when the time finally comes. The Fools on the Hill and in the White House won't belong to the kind of plan they want. Neither will I.

    Thanks, Jeff & Co., for your continued superb efforts and unflagging energy. I honestly don't know how you do it and keep up with life at the same time.

    JV

  8. Gail B says:

    Say W-H-A-T?! Is it just my imagination, or was Obama/Soetoro babbling?

    There were 12,500 people at Centennial Park in Atlanta on Saturday at a rally dubbed as the "American Healthcare Town Hall." The gathering was peaceful.

    On the other hand, about 600 people showed up at Rep. David Scott's forum at a high school. Scott is supportive of Obama/Soetoro's plan.

    I heard on the radio a while ago that GA Rep. Tom Price, M.D. is working on a plan "and he's not working with Obama," the announcer said.

    My fear is that if the government gets its foot in the door, a Healthcare Insurance Czar will push it wide open, whether we or Congress like it or not.

    Obama/Soetoro is just entirely too pushy for comfort for me. His lies and double talk are not conducive to believability. The same goes for his minions and Czars. That's just not the way the Constitution intended government to be run–by Czars.

  9. Anonymous says:

    There's no "hinting"—he doesn't have the votes. His own party killed it:

    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2009/08/16/democratic-senator-public-health-insurance-option-dead/

  10. Anonymous says:

    pls take a moment to go to DEFENDGLENN.COM and let your voice be heard.

    Beck is doing a good job of connecting the dots withing the obama administration and one of obama's czars is trying to pull sponsors from Glenn. ALL americans should discourage this and speak up against it. who knows who will be next?

    Thank you.

  11. Gail B says:

    Well, Obama/Soetoro, perhaps your words were not put together in such a way that was easy to follow, plus, you did not know where you were going with your thought, but the point I got that you made is that every government program has a habit of failing; and this is the reason we are against government-run healthcare.

  12. Anonymous says:

    perhaps it is THIS that will teach obama that everyone will not fall at his feet and give him whatever he desires.

    it was an insult to ignore the people who represent more than half this country. the input should have been voices representing all of us. and why do career-democrats automatically think that opposition to their plan is automatically coming from a republican. this alone says how far removed from the reality of this very serious situation they really are.

    the polls are clear.
    not just one or two polls.
    ALL polls even those who favor obama CLEARLY say the majority of americans DO NOT WANT this plan, but obama continues to TRY and beat us into submission. he really doesnt get it… what HE wants is minute. he is there to do what the majority of america wants. sadly, his interpretation of the position of president is all completely backwards in his head.

  13. Anonymous says:

    obama came out yesterday repeating points that everyone already agree on. it was the horrific other parts of the Bill that needed addressing yet he completely ignored them. I PSURE HOPE THE PEOPLE IN THAT AUDIENCE AND WHOMEVER HEARD HIM PICKED UP ON THAT.

    this man seems to believe in trickery. and i dont apprediate it one bit.

  14. Anonymous says:

    i have no leads on this but in my gut something tells me this all-out fight by obama for this helthcare plan has something to do with MichelleObama's link to that quarter of a million dollar salary she landed and the hospital she worked for. i'll just bet they are slated for big bucks should this plan go through as drafted by the democrats.

    the same way he's in ssorros' pocket i suspect he is with the big hospitals and pharmaceutical companies?

  15. Anonymous says:

    democrats seem to adapted the grin-response. is it just me or are they all subscribing to begin smiling whenever a question is asked of them and continue smiling whenever anyone is speaking in opposition of them?

    they all seem to enter this automatic grin pattern – - maybe its just me, or just coincidental.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I'm not sure who is running the Government these days, but the White House just announced (Sunday evening) that Kathleen Sebelius misspoke.

    I listened to Mr. Obama talk in Colorado and he did NOT answer questions truthfully. He has funding for 2/3 of the heath reform but getting rid of wasteful spending….what is he going to cut (that would be more interesting to everyone), and he went on to say that he will not "tax" anyone making less than $250,000. Does Mr. Obama seriously think by removing more money out of the pockets of those making over $250,000 will not result in prices going up and up. Barack Hussein Obama has bankrupted this nation with percussion's still to come, and now he intends to cause extreme pain and hardship to those that have small incomes…food prices, clothes,transportation–everything will rise. No taxes to the poor, they just will not be able to afford to eat shortly.

  17. Anonymous says:

    AP: Canada Considering Healthcare Overhaul With Private Insurance
    By Noel Sheppard | August 16, 2009 – 23:36

    As President Obama and his Democrat-controlled Congress try to force healthcare reform on an American population largely pleased with the current system, our neighbors to the north are actually considering improving their structure by — wait for it!!! — welcoming additional competition from private insurers.

    I kid you not.

    Within hours of the Obama administration saying that it might consider a reform package without a government option, the Associated Press inconveniently reported the following:

    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2009/08/16/ap-canada-considering-healthcare-overhaul-private-insurance

  18. Anonymous says:

    the majority of times the real criminals get caught. very rarely do they get away.

    this was criminal intent imo and obama got caught.

    he tried to slip in in knowing everyone would be focusing on their upcoming vacatoins and anxiously winding things down and tying up loose ends and would NEVER have the time or even want to read this huge bill. He was right about that but he didnt factor in the spirit of the America.

    his lost!

  19. Linda says:

    Gail said: "My fear is that if the government gets its foot in the door, a Healthcare Insurance Czar will push it wide open, whether we or Congress like it or not.

    Obama/Soetoro is just entirely too pushy for comfort for me. His lies and double talk are not conducive to believability. The same goes for his minions and Czars. That's just not the way the Constitution intended government to be run–by Czars."

    I'm telling you Gail, you and I have got to get together somewhere. This is what I've been telling people on my personal and business email list for a while now. I don't trust anything this administration says or does.

  20. THE SINISTER EXPOSED says:

    Anonymous at 10:08
    Glenn Beck, it seems, is going to get in a 'death blow' to this administration and political party within the next week. Even if they can financially cripple his productions in the next few weeks he is going to have accomplished a great feat for the American people (the true Americans). Stay tuned and support this 2009 Paul Revere!!

  21. Anonymous says:

    Resuscitate Ronald Reagan, immediately.

  22. ORLANDO MATH says:

    POTUS – TOTUS = GOOFY

    verification word: sausigu
    What Tom Cruise has with eggs and toast

  23. Rix says:

    And do you guys belive, for one split of a second, that the single payer system and/or public option will not return to the table as a well-buried appendix to some pork-laden legislation piece? If you really want to stop the Congress from ruining your lives, starve it!

  24. Anonymous says:

    PLEASE, EVERYONE FROM ALL STATES!!!

    Great idea!!!

    Buy the book "The Cure–How Capitalism can Save American Healthcare" by Dr. David Gratzer.

    Then…SEND IT IMMEDIATELY TO EACH OF YOUR SENATORS AND REPS.

    This book explains how our system got into this mess, and how the free market can solve the problems.

    A fantastic read!!!

    We must arm our conservative reps with REAL FACTS AND SOLUTIONS, and re-educate the liberals. This book DOES that!

    Let me know if you do this!

    Lisa in TX

  25. COMRADES! says:

    I detect some communism in the third comment.

  26. Gail B says:

    SINISTER EXPOSED–
    Bless your heart! Bless Jeff's heart for this site. Bless Glenn Beck's heart for his gutsy attitude.

    Good point…and I'm forwarding your comment to EVERYBODY, including the high school Obot!

    No doubt Doug Hagmann and Judi McLeod will be in contact with Glenn. They have signed affidavits of threats to careers and personal safety of MSM owners, top execs, and TALK SHOW HOSTS. Wonder if Glenn Beck's affidavit is among those in a safe place?

    It wouldn't surprise me if Hillary joined in, when it is apparent that Obama/Soetoro's "going down" the toilet with the rest of his regime! She would then have grounds for a lawsuit against him and the DNC.

    Verify: SUPPE (as in eat him alive!)

  27. Rix says:

    > No doubt Doug Hagmann and Judi McLeod will be in contact with Glenn. They have signed affidavits
    > of threats to careers and personal safety of MSM owners, top execs, and TALK SHOW HOSTS. Wonder
    > if Glenn Beck's affidavit is among those in a safe place?

    Apparently, the scenario I have predicted is coming to life, just a bit sooner than I could anticipate. Do you still doubt that my OTHER predicted scenarios will follow?

  28. Michele says:

    Rix, What is your other predicted scenarios? I either missed them or just don't remember. Let's all hope Glenn Beck makes it back. He made a comment a few weeks back, (can't remember exact words) about if he was found dead. That's all I remember. I think he is scared and I see it in his face, but it is not stopping him from saving our great country.

  29. IS THERE A REAL DR IN THE HOUSE? says:

    Is the poster Shawna above REALLY a doctor or one like that 'primary care physician' asking a question at Jackson-Lee's townhall??????

  30. HURRY BACK GLENN says:

    We need to pray for our voices of reason (especially Beck I feel). These are scary times. I cannot guarantee my behavior if something happens to a true patriot like that.

  31. EAGLES NOW HIRING says:

    Howard Dean can still play for the NFL after that kitty photo was taken. :D

  32. Rix says:

    Michele:

    I've been posting my predictions – based on my personal observations and experience of citizenship in two less-than-democratic countries, Soviet Union and Israel – regarding the outcome of 2010/2012 election cycle. Though many believe me a doomsayer, my scenarios tend to realize more often than not. In 2004, I placed a very heavy bet on Barack Obama being the '08 President (though I assumed a Constitutional Amendment will have to be passed for it, since he was known to be foreign born). As early as mid-summer '08, I predicted (though unfortunately, did not put my money where my mouth was) that Sarah Palin, a complete national unknown, will be chosen by John McCain as VP pick. And, the most bitter of all predictions – in 1993, when Israel signed its first "peace agreement" with Palestinians, I said there will be mortar fire in Israeli cities by 2000 – and it actually came a year earlier. But enough with the credentials and boasting. :)

    My ultimate forecast is that, unless something drastic – a tax revolt, a massive secession or an armed uprising – occurs, the Democrats will be in full control of the country by 2012, with the Republican opposition reduced to speeches, token resistance and local victories in rural and suburban districts. To my relief, Obama does not seem to be inclined to build socialist state akin to those in Cuba, North Korea or Soviet Union, nor he is interested in a "benevolent" scandinavian version. Instead, he strives to replicate the regime that existed in Israel in early 70-ies. The most prominent features of that regime were:

    - party-and-half political system and rigged ballot boxes under the guise of "democratic elections",
    - union ownership of all major industries,
    - complete establishment domination in the media through ownership and licensing,
    - healthcare system operating as "cooperatives" and financed through payroll tax,
    - rampant corruption, including open pay-to-vote schemes.

    Did you, perhaps, recognize some elements? Somehow, I'm not surprized.

  33. WHERES THE RALLY POINT? says:

    Rix scares me more than Glenn Beck, but at the same time inspires me. S O M E T H I N G has to be done, pretty or UGLY.

  34. Michele says:

    Rix,

    Thanks for getting back w/ me. What you say makes sense even though it scares me too. Why or do you think Obama hates this country so much? I can't imagine how it would feel to live in Iran or any place like it, but I also would not have imagined feeling as confined as I do in our country at this moment.

  35. henry young says:

    Why can't just those why pay taxes get health benefits…how b'out that Obama and the rest of the health care reform starters??? NO seriously, this I could be in favor of, but not just letting any old person that comes to America, even the illegal’s to get health care and our taxes go up the roof???? No, sure, I will cont. to fight this…

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