Watching this White House deal with health care has been an education. When Rahm is involved, nothing surprises me.
Still, it was good to see Chuck Schumer step up to the plate:
On Monday, Mr. Emanuel said the trigger mechanism would also accomplish the White House's goals. Under this scenario, a public plan would kick in under certain circumstances when competition was judged to be lacking. Exactly what circumstances would trigger the option would have to be worked out.
Some Democrats pushing for a vigorous public plan say the trigger idea isn't good enough. Sen. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.) said in an interview, "If it's not there on day one, those of us who support a public option have a real problem with it."..read on
It's really hard to believe that Schumer is standing with us on this issue, but it seems like he is.
Using the prescription drug plan as an example is brilliant. Pharma loved it. And they really loved Billy Tauzin, the man who rammed it through. Good times.
A trigger mechanism is simply absurd. The insurers have had decades to provide decent coverage and have demurred every time. They have shown themselves to be untrustworthy that entire time, including just last month, when they backpedaled on the cost controls they vowed to offer. Mike Lux, who has seen these battles up close, senses that this is the big proxy fight right now.
Sure, we'll just have to trust that a trigger will kick in and save the day.
President Obama commented all the way from Russia on Rahm's statements and had this to say.
via Open Left:
This forced Obama to interrupt his diplomacy in Russia to release this statement:
I am pleased by the progress we're making on health care reform and still believe, as I've said before, that one of the best ways to bring down costs, provide more choices, and assure quality is a public option that will force the insurance companies to compete and keep them honest. I look forward to a final product that achieves these very important goals.
What happened here? Rahm likely was blabbering to a reporter and just went with his natural gut instinct -- to be weak, and cave to Republicans. As I told the New York Times Caucus blog recently:
Advisers like Rahm Emanuel operate out of fear — like it’s 1994 — instead of operating like people who just won a huge mandate in 2008. They obviously haven’t mastered the bully pulpit yet, which is a shame since Obama is a master communicator. If Obama insisted on the public option and held rallies in Montana, Nebraska, and Louisiana, it would happen.
Today's quote by Obama was a great step. Good job, White House (minus one). Rallies in Montana, Nebraska, and Louisiana would be another good step.
So Obama told him to STFU.
UPDATE: (I just got back from the doctor because of a bad wrist and the doctor doesn't take insurance and I need an MRI that he has to negotiate for me...I'll have more on this later.)
Is Obama just playing games? Is Rahm stating the position that Obama really supports? is the trigger the compromise? It's a muddled mess and I'm sick of the games and nobody knows for sure.
If they try to tank the public option I propose all Democratic politicians hold out and refuse to vote for anything that doesn't have a vibrant, public option.