Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Public Option

That's right, folks.  You can get 60 votes, with a public option, if you include a trigger.

Olympia Snowe is for it:

SCHIEFFER: You first broached this idea of the so-called trigger option, and that is setting a deadline for these private insurance companies to come up with plans that would cover everyone who needed health care, and then if they didn't get that, then consider some sort of a public option. Do you still feel that way?

SNOWE: Yes, I do. I think it is a possibility. You know, bridging the gap at some point in this process as we move forward. And, in fact, I recommended it to the president months ago, even before health care was at the forefront in Congress, because that started (ph) as a way of assuring coverage, not instituting a public option, but making sure that people have access to choices of affordable coverage if the health insurance industry doesn't perform under a newly restructured market, similar to what we did in the prescription drug benefit, which actually -- it worked. There were so many choices, we never triggered the fallback, in fact.

David Sirota said on Rachel Maddow that a "trigger" is a euphemism for killing the public option.  As evidence, he cited the "trigger" in the Medicare Part D bill that would have permitted purchasing drugs from Canada if the price here were not controlled.

A big difference, of course, is that during the Bush administration the fix was obviously in. Not this time!  Congress can write a truly effective trigger if it wants to.  And if it does, it can get to 60.

Nobody likes delay or uncertainty. But this can work.