I've been hearing from my sources that the ConservaDems in the House of Lords (The Senate) would rather have states be able to "opt in," rather than "opt out," of the public option in health-care reform. No matter how you feel about these proposals, the one Ben Nelson supports is a far, far worse plan than the other. Here's what he said on CNN's State of The Union:
KING: If there is a vote and Harry Reid needs 60, have you promised him, even if you disagree with the proposal and might vote no on the proposal, you would give him your vote on the procedural issue?
NELSON: I have made no promise. I can't decide about the procedural vote until I see the underlying bill. It would be, I think, reckless to say I'll support the procedure without knowing what the underlying bill consists of. And it's not put together yet. It's a draft -- it will be a draft bill some time next week, submitted the Congressional Budget Office for the review of the cost. And until I've seen a completed draft...
KING: Well, let me -- let me jump in, can you support...
NELSON: ... I'm not going to...
KING: Can you support a public option where states could opt out so there is a public option in the federal legislation, or will you only support a public option where the state would have to opt in, so there is not a national program already created?
NELSON: Well, I certainly am not excited about a public option where states would opt out or a robust, as they call it, robust government-run insurance plan. I'll take a look at the one where states could opt in if they make the decision themselves.
I understand what the other Senators are trying to do with the opt-out proposal -- which comes down to guaranteeing the public option an uphill, state-by-state battle -- but Ben Nelson in particular continually thwarts every effort to include a robust public option in America. I think he uses health insurance payoffs as a form of roughage to keep his bowels clear. And he still won't say if he'll give us an up-or-down vote. Schmuck.
Nelson must be looking to become a health insurance lobbyists once he leaves the Senate and since he takes the most cash from them---I imagine he has a gig already lined up.