The Democrats appear on the brink of strategically dumping the unpopular public option. But don’t rejoice yet: there remain other ways to usher in that for which many of them year, namely a government-run health care system. John Hood explains:

It is critically important that we all understand what will happen if a Baucus-type bill passes even without a government-run plan or government-sponsored cooperatives. Once the federal government enacts a mandate that businesses or individuals purchase government-approved health insurance — along with new regulations that essentially abolish real insurance in favor of mandatory, prepaid health care for all comers — the resulting political dynamic will lead inevitably to the unraveling of the private market and a government takeover in the future. Once lawmakers and the special-interest lobbyists they listen to gain the ability to dictate the details of health plans to unwilling buyers, consumer-driven health care will be doomed.


Interestingly, the Democrats haven’t quite dumped the public option yet, and Patterico’s Pontifications explains why they will hang onto it, doomed or not, for a bit longer:


The other big reason the Democrats cannot ditch the “public option” yet is precisely because it would allow ObamaCare critics to concentrate their fire on other key elements of their plan. That includes the co-op idea, though it should be fairly easy to discredit as the “public option in sheep’s clothing.” In the medium-term, it may be more significant that the “public option” helps the Democrats deflect fire from the individual mandate.