Monday, September 14, 2009

Public Option Co-opted!


I had promised to talk about the public option in a past post. I said that I didn't honestly understand what all of that entailed but, after reading and doing some research (something any good citizen can and should do before taking a position), I have discovered that the so-called "Public Option" is the idea of a government operated health care plan. This is the meat and potatoes of what the left wants and the bane of the Republican existance nowadays. They claim it's "socialistic" and they also talk about "death panels" too. But, let's be civil and move on...

President Obama has proposed sweeping health care reforms and has stated that the "Public Option" (government health insurance plan) was never the be all and the end all of his health care reform initiative. Now, it looks as though President Obama may bow to Republican pressure and offer political cover to fiscally conservative Democrats. The Obama administration signaled yesterday that it is ready to abandon the idea of giving Americans the option of government-run insurance. The shift leaves open the chance for compromise with Republicans that probably will enrage Obama's liberal supporters but, it could deliver a much-needed victory on a top domestic priority.

Officials from both political parties are looking for concessions while Congress is getting back underway. Facing tough audiences at these town hall meetings and such, lawmakers and the White House are looking for a way to cover the nation's almost 50 million uninsured while maintaining political standing. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that a 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.

Under a proposal by Senator Kent Conrad (D-North Dakota) consumer-owned non-profit cooperatives would sell insurance in competition with private industry, not unlike the way electric and agriculture co-ops operate, especially in rural states such as his own (and, I believe, in states like New York). The White House and members of Congress played down an immediate role for a government health insurance option and turned attention to regulating insurers, with the goal of lowering costs and ensuring coverage regardless of medical condition.

After a summer of taking the heat on health care, President Obama has gone back on offense on his top domestic issue, most notably with a prime-time speech to Congress last week. He told the nation that the "time for bickering is over" and a plan for the government to sell insurance in competition with private industry was "only a means to that end and we should remain open to other ideas that accomplish our ultimate goal."

With that statement, President Obama began the difficult task of trying to lubricate negotiations on Capitol Hill, to push opposing lawmakers away from positions — both left and right — that were threatening a stalemate. That's what happened when Bill Clinton, the last Democratic president, tried to push through an overhaul in the 1990s and we all know how that ended. The president "prefers the public option". However, he said what's most important is "choice and competition" and added that "it is not all of health care."

Senator Olympia Snowe, the Maine Republican who could be her party's only senator who votes with the Democrats on health care, believes choice and competition can be ensured without a government plan. "It's not on the table and it won't be", she said. Snowe said it is "universally opposed" by all GOP senators and "therefore, there's no way to pass a plan that includes the public option. So, I think he's recognizing that." Snowe said that a better bet for now "as the means for injecting competition" are non-profit insurance cooperatives that are designed to compete with private industry and give consumers more choices. Such co-ops are in place in parts of the country, their success has been spotty, and President Obama will have to be convinced that such a plan can succeed.

This is the alternative plan I have been wanting to hear about, even though it was actually conceived by a Democrat. The Republicans seem to be willing to compromise on that point and I can't see anybody but the far far left opposing it altogether. I am not opposed to the idea of the co-op plan in theory, if it can be made to work. What everybody, Democrat and Republican alike, should be going for is a plan that can work... a plan that gets results when put into motion. One thing that even the Republicans agree with the Democrats on is this... the healthcare system as it is now is not working and is causing a drain on all of our pocketbooks. Business as usual cannot continue and something has got to be done! Oh, but then... I'm just stating the obvious!

18 comments:

Sean said...

Good post as usual...You're correct when you say that Obama's backers on the left are going to be disapointed..but I can see his detractors on the right not going for the co-opt idea. They don't want any competition..they want business as usual. Obama is going to be damned if he does or doesn't on this one.

Arlene said...

Keith, A co-op does not competition make, or lower the costs for healthcare, or make quality healthcare available for all. I'm only a "little leftist" and I don't believe Republicans want any change the will impact their bottom line. The very definition of republican narrows who should benefit from anything: "me, just me." Government backed healthcare will take the profit out of what some Americans see as business. But I believe healthcare is a right, not to be negotiated by 100 well insured wealthy people who wouldn't know the cost of an aspirin, generic or namebrand. I don't want our president to back down. Power concedes nothing. We have to take it. He/we must demand quality care for all Americans.

12kyle said...

Glad to see that somebody broke it down. I think its important that people get behind Obama. It seems like folks are just happy that he's in office. He needs support. Not just on this issue but all issues

Brenda said...

You've become like the leading news source in the blogosphere this week Keith!

Cheryl said...

Good Post once again my brutha!lol.

Toni said...

As 12 Kyle said...I'm glad you broke it down for us.

Angie B. said...

The Only reason why the Rethugs don't want public healthcare is because it goes against the insurance companies , whose lobbies and big dollars put a lot of them in their seats.

Sunflower said...

You make good points, but I don't want to see our President back down and give one inch to the republicans, who have done nothing but try to pooh pooh everything he has done.

James Perkins said...

Our Voices have got to be heard..It seems like all of the crazy people get air time..The Liberals and Progressive minded people have got to get in front of these cameras too if we want to get this thing done.

Simon Bastion said...

You are so right..Something has to be done with the Healthcare system and it has to be something new, it can't be business as usual.

Lisa said...

Fight the good fight Keith...Your blog has certainly enlightened me about a lot of things over the past week.

Halo said...

I'm for the public option..a co-op
sounds like a cop out!

Vanessa said...

I'm glad you're breaking down the political and economic situation like you've been doing...but I sure miss the smurfy you with the funny stories..Guess I gotta go to
"Escapades" for that huh?

Captain Jack said...

I agree with Arlene..Republicans don't want any kind of change that effects their bottom line. I hope
Obama stands fast and stands tall!

Grover Tha Playboy said...

The man is damned if he does and damned if he don't just like Sean said.

Jazzy said...

Good stuff fam!

Swaggie said...

I admit ,I didn't understand what all of this was about at all, but after reading a weeks worth of your posts, you have made it plain to me..Thanks for this man!

Tate2 said...

Good Post...but what else would I expect from you Keith!




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