The sound you hear is the public option swirling down the drain

Rick Moran
When the #2 Democrat in the senate basically admits that any reform bill's chances of passage will increase substantially if it doesn't contain a public option, you know that it's days may be numbered.

Fox News.com is reporting:

The No. 2 Senate Democrat said Sunday that he's "open" to health care reform that doesn't include a government-run "public option," the latest indication that the Democrats' package could be scaled back as Senate negotiators try to hammer out a bipartisan compromise and constituents flood town halls to express discontent with the current legislation. 

The so-called public option is a hot topic of debate at town hall meetings across the country. Supporters say it's needed to keep private insurance companies in check and extend affordable coverage to all. Critics warn that the government should not have so much control over health care and that a public option could eventually eliminate private insurance. 

The Senate Finance Committee, the last of five committees to consider health care legislation, is trying to hammer out a bipartisan compromise by mid-September -- such a compromise might leave the public option behind. 

Asked whether Democrats could support such a bill, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin said he's personally willing to consider it. 

"It doesn't have to be a perfect bill," the Illinois Democrat said. "I support a public option, but, yes, I am open."

You hear that distant BOOM? That's the sound of liberals heads exploding all across America as their dreams of running the health care industry begins to slip away.

The fact is, the senate is a lot less enamored of the idea of a public option than the House and moderates have more influence there than in the lower body. Republicans are adamantly opposed of course, and many liberals in the House say they will not vote for a bill that does not include a "strong" public option in its final form.

Obama himself has said previously that he will not sign a bill that doesn't include a strong public option, but has backed away slightly from that position. If he were to go back on that pledge, the wailing and gnashing of teeth by liberals at this "betrayal" will be a sight to see.

The Democrats are stuck with this albatross and there really is no way out. They will get no GOP votes if they include it, and few liberal votes if they don't. Obama is counting on Republicans to give Democrat's some cover and the price may be the loss of the public option.

In the end, it will be a numbers game. Will Obama gain enough moderate Dem and GOP support by deep sixing the public option to pass it over liberal opposition? Or does he risk the Democrats going it alone on the issue and hope that he can twist enough Blue Dog arms to get it passed with the public option?

A rock and a hard place comes to mind.





When the #2 Democrat in the senate basically admits that any reform bill's chances of passage will increase substantially if it doesn't contain a public option, you know that it's days may be numbered.

Fox News.com is reporting:

The No. 2 Senate Democrat said Sunday that he's "open" to health care reform that doesn't include a government-run "public option," the latest indication that the Democrats' package could be scaled back as Senate negotiators try to hammer out a bipartisan compromise and constituents flood town halls to express discontent with the current legislation. 

The so-called public option is a hot topic of debate at town hall meetings across the country. Supporters say it's needed to keep private insurance companies in check and extend affordable coverage to all. Critics warn that the government should not have so much control over health care and that a public option could eventually eliminate private insurance. 

The Senate Finance Committee, the last of five committees to consider health care legislation, is trying to hammer out a bipartisan compromise by mid-September -- such a compromise might leave the public option behind. 

Asked whether Democrats could support such a bill, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin said he's personally willing to consider it. 

"It doesn't have to be a perfect bill," the Illinois Democrat said. "I support a public option, but, yes, I am open."

You hear that distant BOOM? That's the sound of liberals heads exploding all across America as their dreams of running the health care industry begins to slip away.

The fact is, the senate is a lot less enamored of the idea of a public option than the House and moderates have more influence there than in the lower body. Republicans are adamantly opposed of course, and many liberals in the House say they will not vote for a bill that does not include a "strong" public option in its final form.

Obama himself has said previously that he will not sign a bill that doesn't include a strong public option, but has backed away slightly from that position. If he were to go back on that pledge, the wailing and gnashing of teeth by liberals at this "betrayal" will be a sight to see.

The Democrats are stuck with this albatross and there really is no way out. They will get no GOP votes if they include it, and few liberal votes if they don't. Obama is counting on Republicans to give Democrat's some cover and the price may be the loss of the public option.

In the end, it will be a numbers game. Will Obama gain enough moderate Dem and GOP support by deep sixing the public option to pass it over liberal opposition? Or does he risk the Democrats going it alone on the issue and hope that he can twist enough Blue Dog arms to get it passed with the public option?

A rock and a hard place comes to mind.