I recommend Nate Silver’s post about the possible death of the public option.
A couple key points:
Why doesn’t the public option have the votes for passage? You’d think that a provision that is both fairly popular and money-saving was a good bet for passage. But the insurance industry really, really does not like the public option. We’d previously estimated that its lobbying influence has cost the public option something like nine (9) votes in the Senate.
This is an unpleasant truth. But just because it’s an unpleasant truth doesn’t mean that it’s not the truth.
Forget politics for a moment — what about from a policy standpoint? The fundamental accomplishments of a public option-less bill would be to (1) ensure that no American could be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition or because they became sick; (2) subsidize health insurance coverage for millions of poor and middle-class Americans.
These are major, major accomplishments. Arguably, they are accomplished at too great a cost. But let’s look at it like this. The CBO estimates that the public option would save about $150 billion over the next ten years — that’s roughly $1,100 for every taxpayer. I’m certainly not thrilled to have to pay an additional $1,100 in taxes because some Blue Dog Democrats want to placate their friends in the insurance industry. But I think the good in this health care bill — the move toward universal-ish coverage, the cost-control provisions — is worth a heck of a lot more than $1,100.
We live in a culturally pre-Enlightenment country (hence the teabaggers) that is mostly ruled by corporations (hence the fact that a good portion of the Senate has been bought off). That’s reality. Politics is the art of the possible and a health care plan that brings insurance to 40 million Americans has to be counted as a big success for Obama.
Still, I think liberals should yell and scream as much as possible about this, because it just makes it a bigger bargaining chip. Anyway, the angrier we hippies are at Obama, the better coverage he’ll receive. Just remember in 2010 and 2012 (EDIT: in the general elections): you’re with Obama or you’re with the teabaggers.