The White House cuts the public option loose in a trial balloon in Politico:
Obama is considering detailing his health-care demands in a major speech as soon as next week, when Congress returns from the August recess. And although House leaders have said their members will demand the inclusion of a public insurance option, Obama has no plans to insist on it himself, the officials said.
Of course he’s not going to include a public option — as DC’s beltway class well knows, it’s been gone for a long time. Those who deluded themselves into thinking he would veto a bill that didn’t have one were — well, deluded. Rahm and the Baucus Caucus dealt the public option away months ago in order to keep stakeholders at the negotiating tables, and from filling the coffers of Republicans in 2010.
The Blue Dogs (whose votes have been whipped by the White House who told them there will be no public plan) will make the House bill conform to whatever comes out of the Senate.
The White House is making the calculation that the hit they suffer when they drop the public plan is only with the "far left," that they can survive that and actually use it to their advantage by triangulating against "the blogs."
It’s just a guess, but when average Americans understand that "health care reform" means they will be forced to pay Blue Cross more money than they do now for worse insurance or be fined 2.5% of their income, I have a feeling it’s not just going to be a couple of radical lefties who are pissed off about what amounts to an increase in middle class taxes. Unfortunately, since all the liberal interest groups ceded the bank bailout debate to the teabaggers and there was no pushback against the White House’s decision to coddle AIG, the right owns that particular real estate and will be well poised to make the most of it.
For us, the question becomes: what are we going to do? How much do we care, how hard are we going to push Democrats in the House, elected by solid Democratic majorities, to stand up to this railroading and defend the public option?
There are 55 members in D+10 districts who have not said that they will vote against any bill that does not have a strong public option. For me, sitting by and watching them help to bailout PhRMA and the insurance industry on the backs of the middle class, just when people are struggling to find decent jobs in the midst of a recession, is not an option.
We’ll be looking into the campaign finance histories of these members, as well as their voting records, to try and ascertain if there are reasons they are not signing on that the public should know about.