Thursday, September 10, 2009


President Obama finally got specific and did what people have been wanting him to do for months -- put down some markers.

On the most controversial issue, the public option, he made it clear he supported the public option, even though, almost in the same breath, he equivocated and said he was open to other ideas.

This is what he said:

"But an additional step we can take to keep insurance companies honest is by making a not-for-profit public option available in the insurance exchange. Let me be clear – it would only be an option for those who don't have insurance. ...It’s worth noting that a strong majority of Americans still favor a public insurance option of the sort I've proposed tonight."

He did leave the door open for some squabbling when he said..".....some have suggested that the public option go into effect only in those markets where insurance companies are not providing affordable policies. Others propose a co-op or another non-profit entity to administer the plan. These are all constructive ideas worth exploring."

Actually they are not worth exploring and would only put off a public option and make it more complicated than it needs to be, but it's hard for Obama to be definitive about anything and this is as close as he's going to get. And it may be enough. It is unlikely the Democratically controlled congress will put out a bill that doesnt contain the public option as originally conceived.

He made it clear enough with this: "...but I will not back down on the basic principle that if Americans can't find affordable coverage, we will provide you with a choice"

That choice is the public option and Obama's laying down a marker that health care reform has to include it in some way, probably is enough to propel the public option in the senate where Democrats favor it by a count of 46 yes, 13 maybe, No 0 .

In the House the public option has overwhelming support.

Obama may have accomplished what he set out to do with the speech. Stop the squabbling among any Democrats that opposed the public option, as small a minority as they are, since its clear it is now part of the agenda. And he may have also made it clear that Republican opposition is not going to be enough to stop it or even slow it down and that, taking the cue from Dick Durbin, a bill will be passed even if it means without any Republican support.

There seems little the opposition can do now. It is up to the Democrats to draft the bills, vote them out of committee and send them to the floor for final votes. Bills that will have the public option. And get the show on the road.

As for the Republicans, Joe Wilson, a Republican member of the House yelled out during the speech that Obama was a liar. Obviously he has future training conservatives who go to town hall meetings. He may have done Obama a lot of good since it generated so much condemnation from members of Congress it could be an end to Republicans lying about the reform package and if they have legitimate issues with it, to deal with those instead of the "pulling the plug on grandma" nonsense.

There is a good chance that the speech and its specifics might have spelled the end of any hopes the Republicans have of derailing the public option. Had Obama given the same speech three months ago, it would have solidified support for the public option then, and avoided all the nonsense of the last three months instead of empowering Republicans.

But, as the saying goes, better late then never. Now lets hope Obama continues to to break his mold, and not change his mind.


G. said...

The Oracle has spoken: an ineffectual "public option" that will enroll 5 percent of the uninsured and must balance its books, in return for mandates and "tort reform." Guaranteed to fail. Bless you for your generosity in giving him the benefit of the doubt. Me, I've been reading the PNP blog. Guaranteed to fail.

susan h said...

Mr. Transparency stated during his campaign that the health care debate would be on C-span and everyone would see it. Still waiting!
P.S. When Obama says that no illegals will be covered, that is because he plans to make them all legal, ASAP.

Perry Logan said...

You should remove the apostrophe from the title. ;)

Its is the possessive form. It's is a contraction for "it is."