The health-care debate is heating up and a lot of unscrupulous tactics are being revealed. I'm sure you're read about this, but if not I want to highlight one of the many loopholes the health-care insurance industry is counting on with the help of their bought-off friends to destroy the "public option" for health care.
In every major legislative battle, there are a few critical moments that decide the fate of that legislation. In health care reform, we have already seen two: the first when President Obama insisted that we do health care reform this year; the second when Senate Democrats had the guts to ignore Republican hysterics and decided they would move health care in a way that required a simple majority instead of 60 votes. The third big moment is upon us, and the fate of whether we can get real reform of the health care system accomplished will likely be decided over the next few days. The moment I am talking about is the debate of the so-called trigger mechanism for having a public option in health care insurance.
The insurance lobby has had multiple tactics for stopping the public option idea, which they despise because they know if regular folks have choice to go to a public option, insurance companies won't have the same ability to treat their customers like garbage when they get sick. The first tactic was just to try to kill the public option outright, and the good news is that they appear to have failed at that. This so-called trigger proposal is the second tactic: the idea is to write a "trigger" that will allow for a public option only under certain conditions, but write the legislation so that those conditions would never get met in the real world. It's a classic DC tactic, right up there with calling for a commission to study something. Olympia Snowe is carrying the insurance industry water on their trigger proposal, proposing triggers that would only get tripped in some fairyland none of us have ever visited.
The great thing for the insurance companies in a tactic like this is that it gives "centrist" Senators (centrist in Washington, DC usually means those who have taken massive amounts of campaign contributions from the affected industry) an excuse to help the insurance industry while looking like they are open to the public option that their constituents have been demanding...read on
They will do anything to undermine our chances to fix health care in America. One of the worst is Ben Nelson, but the pressure from the netroots has caused him to say he won't filibuster the "public option."
Senator Ben Nelson, one of the key figures in the health care reform fight, has told a local official in his state that he could support cloture on a public plan for insurance coverage even if he opposed the bill itself.
The Nebraska Democrat, who has skeptically approached the idea of a government or publicly-run insurance program, additionally told state Democrats not to assume that he will oppose such a proposal in a final reform package.
"He's not against anything right now," said Bud Pettigrew, the chair of county chairs for the Nebraska Democratic Party, who fielded a phone call from Nelson on Monday. "But he does want to read the plans that come out first and then make a judgment." "He is open to some type of government plan but he wants to see the details first," Pettigrew added. "He wishes the liberals would give him a chance."
Ben Nelson needs to do the right thing and then we'll give him a chance. When has he ever stood with us?