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John Q. Citizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 12:54 PM
Original message
Reply to critics of Bait and switch: How the public option was sold
posted Saturday, Aug 8, 2009

by Kip Sullivan, JD /

Conservatives never base their opposition to single-payer on the ground that it is politically infeasible. They oppose single-payer on policy grounds and they say so. The political feasibility argument is used exclusively by proponents of universal health insurance who profess to admire single-payer systems but who refuse to support single-payer legislation in any meaningful way (and often support legislation that impedes single-payers progress) on the ground that single-payer cannot be enacted, soon or at all. Merton Bernstein and Ted Marmor refer to these people as political yes buts.

Political yes buts have been lecturing single-payer advocates since the modern American single-payer movement began in the late 1980s. Several yes buts took issue with a comment I posted on July 20 on this blog entitled Bait and switch: How the public option was sold. In that comment, I compared the original version of the public option promoted by Jacob Hacker, the intellectual godfather of the idea, and Health Care for America Now (HCAN) with the version incorporated in two bills introduced by congressional Democrats in July.

I reported that Hackers original proposal called for a public health insurance program that would enroll 130 million people whereas the public option contained in the Democrats House bill would enroll 10 million at most and the public option in the Democrats Senate HELP Committee bill would enroll approximately no one. (Now that Democrats in the House have compromised away to the Blue Dogs a requirement that the public option use Medicares rates plus 5 percent, I assume the Congressional Budget Office will attribute roughly zero enrollment to the House version too.)

I stated that a public option with zero to 10 million enrollees might not survive and, if it did, it would have little effect on health care costs and the number of uninsured and underinsured. I criticized the leaders of the public option movement for failing to notify the public that the mousey options in the Democrats bills bear no resemblance to the huge public option originally proposed by Hacker and celebrated by HCAN.

My July 20 comment moved rapidly over the Internet, starting with a few blogs maintained by some long-time single-payer advocates (including Black Agenda Report and Corrente), and triggered much discussion. From what I could see, most of it was appreciative. However, there was some criticism. The critics didnt challenge my facts, nor my conclusion that the public option had undergone great shrinkage, nor that its advocates had failed to apprise the public of that fact.

The criticism fell into two categories. The first category boiled down to the argument single-payer advocates have heard for two decades: Single-payer legislation is not feasible, or is less feasible than some version of the public option. The second type of criticism amounted to: It doesnt matter that the public option has been degraded to a tiny ghost of its former self because it will inevitably be strengthened after it becomes law.

Whole article at url /

Please read the whole article. It is an important piece for anyone interested in reform. Very well written and great analysis.
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-09-09 08:36 AM
Response to Original message
1. indeed -- 'a weak public option is worse than
no option at all' -- the public option as it stands now will be a grover norquist gift -- small enough to drown in a bath-tub.

and when republicans take charge again -- and at some point they will -- that is what will happen.

look at how they treat programs like ryan white -- or large amounts of welfare these days.

anyway -- i'm really starting not to give a shit anymore
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