I was shocked that the media barely mentioned the public option during President Obama's media blitz today. David Gregory did discuss it on Meet The Press and told Obama that he essentially killed it. Obama denied it:
DAVID GREGORY: Like the public option. You effectively said to the left, "It's not gonna happen."
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well what I — no, no, that's not true. What I — what I've said is the public option, I think, should be a part of this but we shouldn't think that, somehow, that's the silver bullet that solves health care. What I've said, for example, on — what's called an individual mandate. During the campaign I said, "Look, if — health care is affordable, then I think people will buy it." So we don't have to say to — to folks, "You know what? You have to buy health care."
And — what — when I talked to health care experts on both the left and the right what they tell me is that, even after you make health care affordable, there's still gonna be some folks out there who — whether out of inertia, or they just don't want to but — spend the money — would rather take their chances.
Unfortunately, what that means, is then you and I and every American out there who has health insurance, and are paying their premiums responsibly every month, they've gotta pick up the cost for— emergency room care when one of those people gets sick. So what we've said as long as we're making this genuinely affordable to families then you've got an obligation to get health care just like you have an obligation to get auto insurance in every state.
The media shifted their narrative last week as I heard Villager after Villager say the public option was dead. We've been fighting for the public option tooth and nail in the blogosphere and also by strong progressive members of Congress.
Obama maintained that while the centerpiece of his healthcare reform effort, a public (or "government-run") option, is absolutely not dead, it also is not the "silver bullet" that would instantaneously repair the nation's healthcare system.
"I absolutely do not believe that it's dead," Obama told Univision's "Al Punto" of the public option's fate. "I think that it's something that we can still include as part of a comprehensive reform effort."
But the president still signaled that the public option, a key reform for which he has pushed for months, would not serve as a panacea for healthcare problems.
"What I've said is the public option, I think, should be a part of this but we shouldn't think that, somehow, that's the silver bullet that solves healthcare," Obama said on NBC's "Meet the Press" with David Gregory, rejecting the idea that he'd effectively told liberals that the public option will not be included in reform.
You can look at his statement about it not being the holy grail of health reform as either a way to not back the American people's support for the public option or a way to keep it alive and then have it come in after the House and Senate join their bills.
He could also be telling the naysayers that since it's a small part of the plan---stop fighting it and get on board. We're still speculating and reading the tea leaves at this point until we do have a real bill to analyze, but I think we know that he's going to try and get a bill passed at all costs. The fact that he's still backing the public option is good news at this point.
ON CNN's State of the Union, a quick search reveals that John King didn't even ask the president about the public option which shows the state of the media. Why was the public option barely mentioned today? Has the media spoken?
Here's Ed Henry's speculation.
HENRY: But here’s what’s also going to worry the unions, is, if you read between the lines, when you ask, would you sign the Baucus bill if it came to your desk, he said it’s too hypothetical.
But then he walked through -- there were some of the things he likes about the Baucus bill. But I never heard -- if you read between the lines -- “I’m really upset that there’s no public option in the Baucus bill.”
He didn’t really get into that. He’s not fired up about that. And so, when you read the tea leaves, again, he’s not adamant about what the unions want, which is that public option.
KING: He did say in some other interviews that he hopes it’s there in the end and he believes it’s possible to still get it in the end. But he’s not -- you’re certainly right. He’s not saying it has to be there in the end...
KING: ... which is what the unions are saying.
ABC's George Stephanapoulos didn't ask about the public option either.
Here's the only mention I found for it on ABC's THIS WEEK:
BRAZILE: But -- but let me just say this. Bipartisanship was always the goal. When you accept Republican amendments in the House and the Senate and try to bring Republicans aboard, as Chairman Baucus has tried to do, look, he took out the public option to gain Republican support. He -- he gave them interstate marketability.