Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 2, 2009

REID AND THE PUBLIC OPTION.... A report in the Las Vegas Review-Journal raised eyebrows yesterday, with encouraging words from the Senate Majority Leader.

"We are going to have a public option before this bill goes to the president's desk," Reid said in a conference call with constituents, referring to some kind of government plan.

"I believe the public option is so vitally important to create a level playing field and prevent the insurance companies from taking advantage of us," he said.

The problem, of course, is that the "public option" means different things to different people, and Reid conceded yesterday that it's a "relative term."

When I spoke to Reid's office last night, I received an update: "Sen. Reid believes that health insurance reform must include a mechanism to keep insurers honest, create competition and keep costs down. He feels that the public option is the best way to do that. While we don't know exactly what that option will look like, Sen. Reid, working with President Obama, will ensure that whatever is included in the final bill does just that."

So, Reid's guarantee of sorts should probably be taken with a grain of salt.

That said, I found it fairly heartening anyway. Given the larger rhetorical and strategic shifts of late, there was a sense that the public option's chances of surviving the process were poor. Having the Senate Majority Leader declare that "we are going to have a public option" -- even if the words are subject to some interpretation -- can give the measure at least some momentum going forward.

Steve Benen 9:25 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (10)

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Is this the same Harry Reid that said Guantanamo detainees wouldn't be allowed in the U.S.? Just saying.

Posted by: tempered optimism on October 2, 2009 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

Having the Senate Majority Leader declare anything would be more meaningful if it was not Harry 'Spineless' Reid!

Posted by: SadOldVet on October 2, 2009 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

Is this the same Harry Reid that I played poker with?

Folded 4 Aces because he did not want to upset Mitch McConnell who had a pair of dueces.

Posted by: SadOldVet on October 2, 2009 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

everything the Dims do should be taken with a grain of salt... which is also why Harry Reid's re-election to the Senate should be taken with a big chunk of rock salt mtn...

Posted by: neill on October 2, 2009 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

The Senate is the sickness

After reading the Ensign piece from coast-to-coast, the Senate is even more diseased than I imagined.

I've got no faith in that body whatsoever.

That entire body ought to be drowned in a bathtub.
It is disgusting, decrepit, and defunct club of old men in the pay of corporations.

Posted by: koreyel on October 2, 2009 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

Reid's polling numbers have been trending downward while he's been out there blocking reform efforts.

Not ready for his post-politics career yet, I guess.

Posted by: zak822 on October 2, 2009 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Health care/health insurance reform has been under discussion for how many months/years now? And we're still expected to believe that "we don't know" what the "public option" may look like. I'd love to be able to agree with Steve that Reid's statement is heartening, but I can't. The longer the public option goes undefined, the more watered down and restricted it will be in the final bill.

Posted by: manda on October 2, 2009 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, we're gonna have a public option. Once he redefines "public option" as meaning "you have an option to buy private insurance, or go to jail". It's more than just his hair that's wispy...

Posted by: exlibra on October 2, 2009 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

To the people the "public option" has never been dead...just to senators balancing their handlers and the press.

But a public option that denies coverage to those on Medicare, or anyone who is insured through their employers etc, means that only those who have no ins or are "un-insurable" due to previous conditions will be covered, which will doom the option to failure...especially if ins. coverage becomes mandatory. It must be a public option for all who "choose" to be covered by it (little difference with Medicare for all huh)and it must be affordable ...which is the 'real' conflict with private ins.

Posted by: bjobotts on October 2, 2009 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

Let the Senate version of HCR have a real public option only include a trigger for the DINOs and joint Presidents Snowe and Collins. Use the trigger to cover an effective public option. Strip the trigger out during House/Senate reconciliation. Get 51 votes to pass the reconciled version in the Senate.
It looks sooo simple when I type it....

Posted by: Doug on October 2, 2009 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK
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