In a late-game push to pass the public option, progressive groups are trying to convince Democrats that it would be political suicide to pass a bill requiring people to buy insurance coverage but not giving them the choice of a government-run plan.
A memo making the rounds on Capitol Hill makes the case that the current construct of the Senate Finance Committee's legislation - which includes an individual mandate but no public option - will be resoundingly opposed by the American public.
Commissioned by the progressive-leaning Health Care for America Now - and obtained by the Huffington Post - the piece is based on three new polls conducted by reputable polling firms in swing House districts and the state of Maine.
"Nationally," the memo reads, "voters oppose a mandate to purchase private insurance by 64% to 34% but support a mandate with a choice of private or public insurance by 60% to 37%... Each [survey] found that likely 2010 voters oppose 'requiring everyone to buy and be covered by a private health insurance plan' but support 'requiring everyone to buy and be covered by a health insurance plan with a choice between a public option and private insurance plans.'"
In a not-so-subtle message to Senate Democrats, the memo concludes with a warning shot at the Senate Finance Committee's legislation - which seems unlikely to include a public plan.
"All of the health care reform proposals that have passed Congressional committees to date, including three House committees and the Senate HELP Committee, include an individual mandate and the choice of private or public health insurance," the HCAN memo reads. "The Chairman's mark introduced into the Senate Finance Committee includes the individual mandate without the choice of a public health insurance option."
Why the media is focusing on the Baucus Dogs is a slap in the face to the four other bills and the rest of Congress, but this HCAN memo hammers home a point that was backed up by the new CBS/NY Times poll. Cancel the public option at your own peril. And that means without those death triggers.