Harry Reid: A Public Option Will Be In Final Bill

by: Chris Bowers

Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 21:14


Amazingly, it looks like we are actually getting close to victory on the public option fight. Harry Reid declares there will be a public option in the final health care bill:

U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said today there will be a "public option" in whatever health insurance reform bill comes out of Congress.

"We are going to have a public option before this bill goes to the president's desk," Reid said in a conference call with constituents, referring to some kind of government plan.

That is quite a promise from Harry Reid. Before we get too excited though, remember that Harry Reid has previously described his favorite public option in a way that sounds awfully like a co-op.

Here at Open Left, we are not going to take this for granted. Today, we joined with CREDO Action on a petition to President Obama demanding that the public option be included the bill sent to the Senate floor. Remarkably, we are already well over 37,000 signatures today.

We are winning. When the Senate Finance and Senate HELP committee bills are merged and sent to the Senate floor, we need that merged bill to have a public option. Tell President Obama to use his political and moral authority to make this happen.

Chris Bowers :: Harry Reid: A Public Option Will Be In Final Bill

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Like you said, the devil's in the details (4.00 / 2)

  But at the very least the Overton window seems to have shifted in our favor, if we're now discussing what type of public option we'll be having in the bill.

 Combine this statement with the Democrats FINALLY seeming to get it about what the Republicans' game is, not to mention Alan Grayson's excellent adventure, and these two days have been the most hope-filled in months.

 Now I'm going to bed immediately before Ben Nelson opens his yap.  

"We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn


You know, in many ways.... (4.00 / 2)
Baucus' dilatory fiasco with the Finance bill did us a lot of favors.  Had he completed the bill on time, with a few republicans onboard, we'd be in much worse shape...  The white house and conservadems would have insisted on us keeping the bill watered down in order to be "bipartisan", and we'd have little leverage.

Now, there is no impetus for even appeasing Olympia Snowe, who may be in serious electoral trouble in 2012 if she doesn't support healthcare reform!

REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!


[ Parent ]
Sen Snowe still being courted (0.00 / 0)
Now, there is no impetus for even appeasing Olympia Snowe

Baucus hasn't given up - the committee hearing was shown live last night. I switched away from KO and RM to listen and watch. Snowe is a co-sponsor on one of Schumer's amendments. Baucus lit up like a neon sign when he heard that had been accomplished. She was exceedingly repetitious in her explanation. You'd think that by 10-10:30 pm she'd be able to speak more concisely.

Sen Ensign participated frequently. Some of his suggestions were incorporated, and complimented, by the Dems, but I felt that he continued to ask the staff for explanations as a ploy to keep the discussion going, and to put the Dem sponsor on the spot for some misspoken detail.  


[ Parent ]
I still think Reid will try to sell us a sack of shit (co-op or trigger) (4.00 / 4)
as a public option, but it's good sign that Reid thinks it's important to have something called a "public option."  The label itself is enough to make DINOcrats like Ben Nelson pee himself.  If people get used to the idea that there will be a public option, it will be easier to make sure that the public option is really a public option.

PS I don't think your last link is right.


I think Reid just plans to put a "public option" label (0.00 / 0)
on something (private insurance based) other than what we understand a "public option" to be.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) called the public option a "relative term" and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said "there is not one way to Rome, there are lots of ways to Rome."

"Remember, a public option is a relative term," Reid said. "There's a public option, there's a public option, and there's a public option. And we're going to look at each of them."
http://www.politico.com/news/s...



[ Parent ]
I don't trust Politico (4.00 / 1)
I can imagine them pressing both Reid and Schumer for details and what they run as a story is those bullshit quotes.

Here's the rest of that very short bullshit story -

Moving to the center on the public option and health care reform could leave Reid vulnerable, as he would be seen as abandoning his party's liberal base. But Democrats seem to be open to negotiation with the right-wing of its party. Schumer said he has been in conversations with conservative Democrats, who have indicated they would be open to some form of public option in the bill.


[ Parent ]
So, we're creating our own reality, then? (0.00 / 0)
bennytoothpick writes:

If people get used to the idea that there will be a public option, it will be easier to make sure that the public option is really a public option.

Why? Got an example? And rather than trying to trick ourselves into doing the right thing -- assuming, arguendo, that the phrase, [a|the] public [health insurance]? [option|plan] is actually meaningful -- wouldn't it be simpler and more effective simply to, well, do the right thing?

I am in earnest -- I will not equivocate -- I will not excuse -- I will not retreat a single inch -- AND I WILL BE HEARD.  

[ Parent ]
the DINOcrats don't object to the PO on substantive policy grounds (4.00 / 2)
they object to it because it's easy for teabaggers to make the bullshit claim that public option = government takeover of healthcare.  If it's an established fact that there will something called a public option in the healthcare bill, the DINOcrats won't be happy.  But they won't be more unhappy if it's a strong public option as opposed to a weak one (perhaps some senators from rural states might, but that's a different issue).


[ Parent ]
So, since the Dems are going to get blamed either way... (0.00 / 0)
... no matter what they do, why not go for the only legislation on offer that can actually be shown, by evidence, to save both lives and money? Single payer not "substantive" enough?

I am in earnest -- I will not equivocate -- I will not excuse -- I will not retreat a single inch -- AND I WILL BE HEARD.  

[ Parent ]
As long as the recipients of corporate largesse call it a "public option" (4.00 / 3)
 -- regardless of how little resemblance it has to Hacker's proposal and regardless of how the industry views the bill containing it as "a bonanza" -- there will be plenty self-described progressives celebrating it as a "victory."

Redefine "winning" (4.00 / 3)
I'll call it a win when everyone, you and I, is able to enroll in the public option. I don't think that will be a reality with any bill coming out of the senate. But we'll see.

Seems me to this is just an attempt to provide cover for those politicians who can read polls just as well as we can but have no intention of actually doing something that would displease their masters.


Harkin will do his best (4.00 / 3)
but he needs the White House to get involved if the bill that goes to the floor is to have any kind of public option.

I am concerned that even the HELP bill's public option would be inadequate, but I think it would be better than the status quo.

Join the Iowa progressive community at Bleeding Heartland.


and the 'progressive block' has to hold (4.00 / 5)
The defences have to hold.

[ Parent ]
This news will embolden them! n/t (0.00 / 0)


REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!


[ Parent ]
Quite a promise, indeed (4.00 / 1)
You left out the best Reid quote of all time. Politico:

"There's a public option, there's a public option, and there's a public option. And we're going to look at each of them."

Yes, you can take that to the bank! The only question is how much it's actually worth....

Then again, declaring victory is very important! Even if we're only doing so on the basis of a tribal shibboleth, instead of actual legislation (or even policy (or even bullet points))). Thanks, "progressives"!

I am in earnest -- I will not equivocate -- I will not excuse -- I will not retreat a single inch -- AND I WILL BE HEARD.  


sort of a walkback (4.00 / 3)
Late update: A Reid aid says, "Sen. Reid believes that health insurance reform must include a mechanism to keep insurers honest, create competition and keep costs down. He feels that the public option is the best way to do that. While we don't know exactly what that option will look like, Sen. Reid, working with President Obama, will ensure that whatever is included in the final bill does just that."

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo...

No promises of a PO, just some mechanism "to keep insurers honest, create competition and keep costs down."  This seems to be the WH line.  Doesn't Reid know if he promises a PO but then fails to deliver, the liberal backlash will be even bigger?  I think he's just trying to be a dick now.


Typical Reid.... (0.00 / 0)
...every word out of his mouth contradicts another...

REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!


[ Parent ]
We are NOT winning. (0.00 / 0)
However, we are not losing, either.

Reid is not on our side.  Neither's Obama.  What have either of them done for us on this issue?  What are they going to do when they meet resistance?  Stop just paying attention to their words and start paying attention to their actions.

Their actions have been to do nothing and hide behind their rhetoric.  They aren't working for us.  On the other hand, they haven't exactly done much for the insurance companies, either, though Obama did go out of his way to include them in "discussions."  Obama's not a fighter.  Given the option to compromise (read capitulate), he'll do that.  Reid's even worse.  He'll pre-compromise, then he'll give up.  He's not a leader and never has been.  He's a follower.  He never should have been allowed to be Majority Leader.

We know Baucus wants a public option like he wants chronic gonorrhea, so the question here is how far will he take it?  Would he even join a filibuster?  We don't need 60 votes to pass the bill, just 60 votes to break the filibuster.  But Baucus has been justifying his actions by conflating the cloture vote as the final vote.  Is he going to threaten Reid, Harkin, and Obama with that in an attempt to force them to drop the public option?  What are the ramifications for him if he does that?  (Seriously, I'm asking.  I don't know the answers, and I'd like to.)

Harkin's the closest ally we've got of the four, and even his committee's public option is weak tea.  But he's our foot in the door, and right now, I'll take that.

The best we can say about our current situation is the fight ain't over.  And as long as we keep fighting, we still have a chance, so keep fighting!

Now if any of you haven't yet, go sign the petition Chris linked to.  Call your congress persons - again - and keep pushing.  We've got to throw everything and the kitchen sink at this.  Our lives are on the line.

Health insurance is not health care.
If you don't fight, you can't win.
Never give up. Never Surrender.
Watch out for flying kabuki.


Our Harry Reid (0.00 / 0)
In a previous post on this subject, I tried to point out that Harry is a good ideolog.  His numbers in re-election chances are pretty dim.  He would try to get a public option into the health bill because he has nothing to lose.  He has very few qualms in misusing his office; and would probably use any iniquitous or nefarious method he could to accomplish his goals.

What?? (4.00 / 2)
This sounds like the writing of a Republican who actually thinks Reid works hard to accomplish liberal objectives using every means possible.

To that, all I can say is: I wish.  Well, maybe not all I can say.  I could have said, for example: In my dreams.

Unfortunately, this caricature bears no resemblance to reality.


[ Parent ]
Our Harry Reid (0.00 / 0)
It's true that Harry will do as little as possible to get his way.  He would probably throw "Little Timmy" down a well if it was an easy thing to do and buy him a little support.  I'm just saying not to worry about his support for a public option. (Whatever that might be!)

[ Parent ]
It's possible (4.00 / 4)
That by including something they call a "public option" in the Senate bill, and passing it on the floor with Democratic leaders calling it a "public option" that they will trap themselves in Conference, and the House's version may actually strengthen it.

It could be one of those "we know what you are madam, we're just haggling over the price" moments, that by ceding rhetorically on a public option, the House Conferees would actually have room to manoeuvre and improve a bill for once.


The overton window has shifted.... (4.00 / 2)
The conventional wisdom was that the Senate could not pass ANY public option...

Now, that's changed, apparently... it may be very, very weak, but the conversation shifts from "will one be in the bill" to "what kind will it be"...

A very important distinction.  If there is some form of public option int he Senate bill, suddenly the battle with the house will no longer be whether the public option survives conference, but how strong will it be?

And remember, once enacted, it won't go away so easily... but, it will be MUCH easier to strengthen an existing program in the future than it would be to enact a new one.  Hell, even future reconciliation bills would be in legitimate play on this one.

REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!


as long as it's not a co-op or a trigger that never fires... (0.00 / 0)


[ Parent ]
Someone, maybe Alan Grayson, needs… (4.00 / 4)
...to ratchet up the debate by floating the idea of a single-payer plan, and trying to get it back on the table. The Republicans and insurance companies will throw hissy-fits and cry "Crazy!" while falling all over themselves trying to scale things back to a robust public option. Winter's coming, so it's time to turn the heat up, not down.

"This ain't for the underground. This here is for the sun." -Saul Williams

Another thought… (0.00 / 0)
The key to this tack might be reminding President Obama that he campaigned on a single-payer system. The question then becomes, "Mr. President, why did you scale back your ambitions?" Resuscitate the Wall Street/Main Street meme just as the new cycle of bonuses are beginning to surface. "Sir, you bailed out Wall Street and they seem to be doing just fine, so why the hesitance on meaningful reform for Main Street." Even if this idea sounds farfetched, it's worth the brainstorming.

"This ain't for the underground. This here is for the sun." -Saul Williams

[ Parent ]
Obama did NOT campaign... (0.00 / 0)
... on a single payer system. Hillary's plan was weak, but included a mandate, so at least got to universal, so there was a starting point. Obama's was weaker, with no mandate, and he campaigned from her right by running Harry & Louise-style ads in OH.

I am in earnest -- I will not equivocate -- I will not excuse -- I will not retreat a single inch -- AND I WILL BE HEARD.  

[ Parent ]
I stand corrected... (0.00 / 0)
...he's always said he favored it while adding qualifiers--even earlier this very year. However, that still provides a bit of daylight in which to jumpstart a more progressive healthcare debate than we have right now.  

"This ain't for the underground. This here is for the sun." -Saul Williams

[ Parent ]
Nope (0.00 / 0)
All single payer advocates ever get is "If we were starting from scratch." So, "If the moon were made of green cheese..."

There's no daylight there at all.

I am in earnest -- I will not equivocate -- I will not excuse -- I will not retreat a single inch -- AND I WILL BE HEARD.  


[ Parent ]
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