This was the overnight news from the sausage factory:
In pushing to include a government-run health insurance plan in the health care bill, the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, is taking a calculated gamble that the 60 members of his caucus could support the plan if it included a way for states to opt out.
Mr. Reid met with President Obama at the White House Thursday to inform him of his inclination to add the public option to the bill, but did not specifically ask the president to endorse that approach, a Democratic aide said. Mr. Obama asked questions, but did not express a preference at the meeting, a White House official said.
If I didn’t know better, I’d say President Obama is bending over backwards to avoid taking any kind of real stance on whether a public option should be included in the bill, and if so, of what kind. The edifice of plausible deniability he has constructed is surely impressive.
And, of course, when you don’t even articulate what you want, by definition there’s no question of really fighting for it.
But, don’t worry yourself sick, it’s coming soon to a Congress near you—the health care reform we deserve, brought to us by the 60-seat Democratic Senate, and the president who we elected with an overwhelming mandate to reform healthcare.
Not the health care reform we want by a pretty clear margin. Just the health care reform we deserve.
In other news, centrist senators think (with a straight face) that healthcare legislation has been proceeding with unseemly haste:
As word of Mr. Reid’s intention spread Thursday, centrist senators from both parties said they had come together in an informal group to resist creation of a uniform nationwide public insurance program.
Leaders of the group, including Senators Ben Nelson, Democrat of Nebraska, and Olympia J. Snowe, Republican of Maine, said they wanted to be sure the bill was not rushed to the floor.
Meanwhile, Senator Mary L. Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana — who must have been dropped on her head as a child — continues to fight tooth and nail against any kind of public option:
I am pressing to get a government-run, taxpayer-supported public option out of the bill. I want to rely on a reformed private marketplace.
And here’s where she’s coming from:
I think if you asked, do you want a public option but it would force the government to go bankrupt, people would say no…
So, in all this time of bitterly opposing meaningful healthcare reform, she hasn’t even figured out the very basic stuff? Such as the fact that all extant variants of the public option are designed to reduce the deficit, and have been scored by the CBO as doing so?
Like I said, dropped on her head as a child.