I can see that Ben Nelson and the Conservadems/Baucus Dogs have a plan. They bitch and moan about the effect a public option would have on the poor, poor health-insurance industry, so if they do have to vote for a public option in the Senate that clearly benefits Americans and not his favorite donors, they will only do it under the provision that the states "opt in" rather than "opt out."
Nelson's hair doesn't explain why he favors the "opt in" version and Harwood doesn't bother to ask. And he can count on the media to not inform America what the differences are in an opt in or an opt out version of the PO so when we complain about it the Villagers will attack us. He was interviewed by John Hardwood, a Villager of the highest order on MSNBC.
Here's what Ben Nelson's hair said:
Harwood: You'd agree that unless a comprehensive health care bill would pass that it would cripple his presidency.
Nelson's hair: Well, I don't know that we should conclude that some form of health care reform won't pass. I believe that some form of health care will pass.
Harwood: What in your mind are stoppers, things that, knowing this place, things that either because you oppose them or other senators oppose them, simply can 't be in the final product to have it pass?
Nelson's hair: Well, it's very difficult to see how that CLASS Act that was in the HELP committe bill would make it [that's long term care provisions] I think also any kind of public option that would undermine or destabilize the private insurance that 200 million Americans have, I don't see that that would make it. But some version such as an opt-in, for the states with a state option, that could very well be in.
Digby alerted me to this clip and she astutely writes:
But I am still suspicious that there might be a play to make opt-in the reasonable alternative to opt-out. It just keeps cropping up in all kinds of places, often from White House reporters. It's worth keeping an eye on anyway.
Harwood thinks that Nelson will stick with them on cloture and I haven't heard otherwise. (and if Harwood asked him he didn't say, the putz.) But he certainly keeps dangling himself out there as a vote for opt-in, so if this thing really comes down to the wire I could see it happening. Again, I don't think the village media have clue about just how different the two things are. It's just bumper sticker slogans to them.
The Hill reports that Sheldon Whitehouse also trumpeted the same thing.
The Senate health bill is drifting toward ending up with an "opt-in" provision versus an "opt-out," one Democratic senator said Friday.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) predicted that healthcare reform in the upper chamber would shift from its current construction, which allows states to opt out of a public option, to a version that forces states to opt into such a plan.
"I think it's falling into an opt-in, versus opt-out," Whitehouse said during an appearance on MSNBC. "You have a public option, but it's up to a state to take an affirmative act to take advantage of it."
Whitehouse suggested the opt-in as a potential compromise on the public option to win enough Democratic votes in the Senate, where Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) has said he will vote against a bill containing a public option, and several other centrist Democrats have been reluctant to support the current proposal.
I'm doing some digging around to see what's really happening and I'll have news soon. Reid is already having the "opt out" scored by the CBO, but my sources indicated that the Senate has not sent out the "opt in" to be scored. From what I'm hearing. The "opt in" would not pass the House conference.