This is just plain crazy. Why should one woman in the opposing party have so much power over our futures, just because Obama has a "bipartisan" fetish? This is about offering a protective cover to Blue Dogs; I get that. But man, it's galling that everything gets pulled down to the lowest common denominator by one woman who's been enjoying taxpayer-funded healthcare coverage for a very long time:
WASHINGTON — As the White House and Congressional leaders turned in earnest on Wednesday to working out big differences in the five health care bills, perhaps no issue loomed as a greater obstacle than whether to establish a government-run competitor to the insurance industry.
One day after the Senate Finance Committee approved a measure without a “public option,” the question on Capitol Hill was how President Obama could reconcile the deep divisions within his party on the issue. All eyes were on Senator Olympia J. Snowe, the Maine Republican whose call for a “trigger” that would establish a government plan as a fallback is one of the leading compromise ideas.
No "deep divisions" out here with the overwhelming majority of Democrats, or anyone else for that matter. It's only the Democratic Blue Dogs who have such "dainty" concerns. Oddly enough, the more those members got in contributions from the death-for-profit healthcare industry, the stronger those "concerns" are! Hmm.
Two senior administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the White House looked favorably on the Snowe plan. But liberal Democrats were maneuvering against it Wednesday, arguing that Ms. Snowe, the lone Republican to vote in favor of the Finance Committee’s bill, was gaining undue influence over the talks.
“It’s one vote, she won’t make the commitment on the final product, and she says she’s got to have the trigger,” said Representative Raúl M. Grijalva, Democrat of Arizona, who is leading an effort in the House to round up votes for a government plan akin to Medicare. “I think the administration has put her in the driver’s seat; it’s very disconcerting.”
Of the many difficult decisions remaining — including how to pay for an overhaul and how many people will be left uninsured — few carry as much political weight for the president as the public option. The plan, which would be for people who do not get health care through their employers, has become a proxy for a larger debate over where Mr. Obama is taking the country.
“What’s going on here is not simply health care and the public option,” said Kenneth M. Duberstein, a chief of staff in the Reagan White House. “In light of the auto bailout, the bank bailout, the stimulus package, the public option fight is a surrogate for how much government is too much.”
I wish all those Members who have such concerns would turn back the government-funded healthcare largesse they enjoy and turn instead to the free market. Perhaps I wouldn't despise them quite so much.
With Democrats split, an array of compromises are being floated — including the nonprofit cooperatives in the Finance Committee bill and the latest idea to capture some Democrats’ fancy, leaving the public option to the states. But economists say few would fulfill Mr. Obama’s stated goal of injecting “choice and competition” into the marketplace.
Mr. Obama’s health care adviser, Nancy-Ann DeParle, said she was convinced that Democrats could “find convergence.” She and several other officials, including Rahm Emanuel, the chief of staff, and Peter R. Orszag, the budget director, met Wednesday with Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader, to discuss merging the Senate’s bills.
Aides say Mr. Obama has reviewed the alternatives to the public option but has not settled on which, if any, he prefers. And some Democrats say a backlash against insurers is creating renewed interest in a public plan. But in private conversations with Ms. Snowe, Mr. Obama has brought up her idea for a trigger that would create a government-run plan in states where at least 5 percent of residents lacked access to affordable care. One senior White House official called the idea “very reasonable.”
Must. Go. Hit. Head. On. Wall. Now.