The Democrats want the public option, no matter what the public thinks. Not entirely surprisingly, it has risen Lazarus-like from the deathbed of August. But Rich Lowry observes:
The flush on Obamacare’s cheeks, though, is not necessarily a sign of health. The return of the public option speaks to a key — perhaps decisive — substantive weakness in the legislation. It’s no accident that the public option came roaring back in the immediate aftermath of an insurance-industry-commissioned study arguing that Obamacare would increase premiums.
The study made Democrats yelp so loudly because it hit on such a sensitive spot. The Democrats must make people believe their inherently unbelievable promise of vast new public benefits for free. Since this defies common sense, the determinedly commonsensical American people don’t buy it. A Gallup Poll finds that 49 percent of people expect their costs to get worse under Obamacare, compared with 22 percent who say they will get better. The skeptics are right.
Then there is Nancy Pelosi’s bizarre claim that the recently-revived public option will save money for ordinary citizens:
This is yet another chimera. To tamp down fears that a public option is a vehicle for a government takeover, the House bill has a relatively tepid version that will supposedly only attract 10 million people. If so, that won’t help the broader middle class much. If a more “robust” public option is designed to drastically undercut private insurance rates and pull in more people, the costs of the squeeze it puts on doctors and hospitals will be passed along to the private system. In this scenario, the public option will be like Medicare, a program beggaring the private system even as it grows out of control itself.
I think what we’re seeing is the public against the public option. The Question: Can they pass it without us? They’re certainly trying.