The White House finally made official what we have known for a long time: President Obama is against the public option. How do we know this? Because Obama, for the first time ever, released his own official health care reform proposal — and it does not contain a public option.
You can’t claim to support an idea if you are unwilling to make it part of your own proposal. Since the package is designed to pass using reconciliation, the fact that Joe Lieberman, Blanche Lincoln, and Ben Nelson are against the public option is irrelevant. The public option already passed the House, and Sen. Tom Harkin said a public option had the support of a majority of senators, so there is no reason it cannot be passed through budget reconciliation. Joe Lieberman may have played the part of the anti-public option boogeyman before, but now Obama is stepping up to prevent the PO from coming to fruition.
Just to be clear, you can’t “support” something if you make no effort to see that it passes. If you do things that directly harm its chances of becoming law, like not include it in your health care proposal, then you are against it. But don’t worry, even as Obama takes steps to make sure that people don’t have an alternative to the private insurance companies that helped ruin our health care system, he did take steps to make sure you face an even bigger IRS penalty if you refuse to buy the poorly regulated product from the private insurance companies.