Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Why the Public Option Is Crucial for Obama & the Dems

This is the day we've been waiting for. President Obama delivers his big health care speech tonight. Reportedly, he is finally going to reveal some specific details. Some say it will be a scaled back plan, but the main point of interest is his position or lack thereof on the public option. Myself, I expect him to offer tepid support for a weak or vague public option and then proceed to give the Republicans whatever the hell they ask for. I hope I'm wrong. Obama should be smart enough to figure out that forcing people to buy health insurance without a public option is a prescription for disaster for us and for him. (As if that's not bad enough, the Baucus plan would fine the uninsured up to $3,800!)

Paul Krugman:

[A]nd this is where I am getting a very bad feeling about the idea of throwing in the towel on the public option . . Remember, to make reform work we have to have an individual mandate. And everything I see says that there will be a major backlash against the idea of forcing people to buy insurance from the existing companies. That backlash was part of what got Obama the nomination! Having the public option offers a defense against that backlash. . Imagine that reform passes, but that premiums shoot up (or even keep rising at the rates of the past decade.) Then you could all too easily have many people blaming Obama et al for forcing them into this increasingly unaffordable system.

Josh Marshall:

Am I the only one who thinks that if the Dems pass a bill with mandates and subsidies for poor and moderate income people to purchase it but no public option or competition with the insurers, that it will be pretty much a catastrophe for the Democrats in political terms?

Marta Evry:

Well, if Obama really does punt on the public option, it will be a disaster for him and for us. And not because of policy. No, this will be our Waterloo moment . . We expected Change, we expected to be respected, empowered and included, we expected him to fight, and we expected to join him in that fight. Wednesday night will be a promise kept or a promise broken. Either way, it will be our moment of truth.

Graphic refers to the Single Payer Amendment(HR676) which comes up for a vote in September. The powers that be don't want us to have it. Demand it anyway. Tell your Congress members: Support Rep. Anthony Weiner's Single-Payer Amendment.