Regardless of what the public thinks about the public option (see below), it won’t go away. Rasputin-like, it rises from every defeat. A. B. Stoddard of The Hill notes:
The public option, long considered untenable in the U.S. Senate, has been revived there as well. It could overcome a huge hurdle this week if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and other Senate Democratic leaders — who are merging the more liberal bill from the Senate HELP Committee, which includes a public plan, with the more conservative Senate Finance Committee bill, which does not — choose to include it….
For most of this year it seemed the public option would be the sacrificial lamb; Democrats could dangle it but drop it at the eleventh hour in exchange for industry’s support for new regulations to protect the consumer that industry has long resisted. But perhaps the prospect of losing their protection from antitrust laws could bring insurers back to the table, hungry for a trade: support for a watered-down public option, and one that wouldn’t be available to those already covered by their employers.
We cane be slightly encouraged that 12 Democrats and one independent crossed over to vote against a Democratic plan to increase Medicare pay to doctors. This was considered a test vote. But those of us who oppose current health-care proposals must realize that the other side is determined—and doesn’t really care what the public does or does not want.