Why Won't the Public Option Die?

The public option has been in critical condition all summer, but, like Jason Voorhees, it stubbornly refuses to stay dead. Indeed, in the last week or so, it's been gaining support. And now Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has announced that he's moving forward with a public option that allows individual states to opt out:

Reid announced this afternoon that he plans to push ahead with a public health insurance option that includes an opt-out provision for states—even though he's currently short several votes for passage, according to people close to the situation. 

"It's the fairest way to go," Reid said at a news conference, where he said he’ll send the state opt-out plan to the Congressional Budget Office. States would have until 2014 to opt out. 

Reid, who spoke with virtually every member of his 60-member caucus this weekend, currently has between 56 and 57 votes for a proposal to create a national insurance plan but allow states to opt out of it, according to Democratic aides. 

But Reid said he will not send the "trigger" option to the CBO—which endangers the support of Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), who has not signed on to the opt-out idea. Snowe wants a public insurance option to kick in only if private insurers don’t expand coverage fast enough. 

Asked about Snowe's lack of support, Reid said: "We are going to have to move forward on this." 

A month ago, I would have said there's no way any bill with a public option can pass. Now, I'm not so sure. This may simply be a way for Democratic leaders to appease the liberal base. But it also might be a serious attempt at passing a bill with a public option.

Strangely enough, however, one of the most prominent frustrations for Democratic leadership at this point appears to be... the White House. Yes, Obama has consistently had good things to say about the inclusion of the public option (though he's never demanded it be included). But lately, he's waffled about which particular flavor of public option he favors. According to Ezra Klein, that's proven irksome for Senate Democrats trying to figure out what, exactly, the administration supports.

I'm also hearing a lot of irritation from congressional Democrats at the mixed signals being sent by the White House. If the White House wants to advocate for the trigger, fine. If the White House wants to advocate for the public option, fine. But for the White House to host one meeting where they signal that they're uncomfortable with Reid's decision to push the envelope on the public option and then make a big effort to walk that meeting back after the left gets angry is confusing everybody.

...Since the administration is considered the most important actor here, no one knows quite how to structure their strategy so long as the White House refuses to fully show its cards.

The problem with this notion, it seems to me, is that it assumes the White House supports a very particular policy. But as I've pointed out before, what Obama really supports is the passage of a bill—any bill, just so long as it can more or less legitimately be called "health-care reform." Now, it's obviously impossible to know for certain what the White House's thinking is. But my guess is that what he supports isn't so much one version of the public plan or another, but instead, whatever flavor of the public plan is most likely to result in successful passage—and thus, political victory.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    "But my guess is that what he [Obama] supports isn't so much one version of the public plan or another, but instead, whatever flavor of the public plan is most likely to result in successful passage—and thus, political victory."

    Expediency, in politics? I am shocked! SHOCKED!

  • ||

    Ah, but isn't the public option the camel's nose for full socialized medicine? Use it to drive people off employer's plans, undercut insurance companies, claim it's a "success" but just needs to be expanded and "fully funded," and in 10-15 years, it'll be all that remains.

  • 24AheadDotCom||

    That'd make a good TeaParty rant! Of course, it would be completely ineffective, but it would make great cable TV fodder.

    As for the post, what exactly has Reason done to oppose BHO's plans? Their rants here are equally ineffective.

    In order to block something like this, Reason would have to find the smartest people they know (i.e., non-libertarians) and get them to come up with this thing called an argument. Then, Reason would have to take that argument to the other side, in order to show the other side's followers how their leaders are wrong. That would send a message and have an impact.

    My two-and-a-half-year-old plan to ask politicians tough questions is just a technique; I'd prefer they were about my topics but that's not necessary. Despite the fact that that could have been used to block UHC or at least extract concessions, Reason - and all the other UHC opponents - had no interest in using that technique. Now, I don't know whether it's because they have emotional problems, or they're corrupt, or they're just stupid, but that doesn't exactly inspire confidence in Reason or the other supposed opponents.

    P.S. In case anyone replies to this, their responses will almost assuredly be ad homs, thereby conceding my points and showing the childish, anti-intellectual nature of libertarians. Dozens of comments here have shown that the phrase "fascist libertarian" isn't an oxymoron.

  • ||

    LoneWacko's a persistent dude
    And something of a runt
    He'll despise with all his heart
    The IllegalImmigrant

    His writings are as hard to read
    As that dude who wrote Time Cube
    He loves to make him videos
    And stick them on YouTube

    At first we ignored all his shit
    Like so much stinking glop
    But now with threaded comments he
    Does stick them right up top

    And so I loudly say to you
    Along with all the rest
    That Adnotatiunculae
    Bilicis delenda est

  • Suki||

    Lonewacko: The Novel is still up.

  • ||

    Lonewhacko, here is the only good thing about this. Any right to healthcare is going to necessarily include illegal immigrants.

    How are we going to say everybody gets healthcare, except those that don't have proper documentation? We can't.

    If we did what would be the point of having health care for everyone.?

  • ||

    Some of the problem seems to be that the admin. is giving congressional liberals free reign over the shape of this legislation. I think most would agree that the American people should at least be allowed to see what’s in the health care bill. Here’s a video sent to me showing Candidate Obama promising to show health care negotiations on C-SPAN, while President Obama let Harry Reid write the bill behind closed doors. It's pretty telling:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmNdV0PSRy4

  • ||

    That is pretty funny 24ahead, but about 48 hours ago it was pointed out that the poll that "supports" the public option was pretty much garbage planted by ABC and the WaPo (Item about "Question 10, which Ezra Klein cites)

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/blo.....money.aspx

    Here is question ten, you tell me how it demonstrates any traction by you guys.

    10. Which of these would you prefer - (a plan that includes some form of government-sponsored health insurance for people who can't get affordable private insurance, but is approved without support from Republicans in Congress); or (a plan that is approved with support from Republicans in Congress, but does not include any form of government-sponsored health insurance for people who can't get affordable private insurance)?

    WTF does that question mean?

    And if you "support" is based on manufactured numbers, your contention that tea partiers are ineffectual sort of falls by the wayside too.

    Any "Ad Homs" in here?

  • ||

    Basically. Once they have SOMETHING, then it becomes a matter of "fully funding" it (great word) and expanding it. Rome wasn't built in a day.

    Basically, ANYTHING they pass is a win for socialized medicine. All flaws can be blamed on the political compromises to get it passed-- if those pesky libertarians and conservatives hadn't ruined it then blah blah blah wouldn't be happening. Or, "How's your free market working out now?"-- IE anything short of full nationalization is presented as laissez faire. Any improvements to healthcare stats at all (such as the general life expectancy trend) will be attributed to it as proof that it works.

    To liberals, the story is, "we accomplished a strong first step" and to moderates it's "we passed a pragmatic compromise that needs some refinement".

  • ||

    Incidentally, they have the votes, they just need to get the public's attention pulled away by something, anything. Without broad-based public opposition like the tea parties, SOMETHING is likely to be passed. And something is all they need.

  • Dello||

    It would be Hee-Fucking-Larious if the Bluest of the states opted out because they did the math and didn't like the outcome.

  • Paul||

    Luckily, blue states aren't well known for their math skills, especially when applied to the checkbook.

  • ||

    That is a feature not a bug

  • ||

    Adaptive math: any results which don't favor a liberal state is re-imagined as an inequity in the bill which must be tweaked. Since the tweak only affects one state, it becomes harder to rally opposition. It also creates the expectation that since states can choose to participate or not (of course, states have to PAY for it whatever their decision) that the federal program should be an improvement over any state system or else it's "unfair".

    The tweakability of this proposal is its strength. If they can pass some bill, any bill, then suddenly they can call it national healthcare and claim that the time for debate is over.

  • ||

    No one in his right mind would opt out, really. Don't forget that just because your citizens can't buy the public option doesn't mean they won't be paying for it, with their taxes.

    It'd be one thing if you could opt out of the taxes necessary to pay for the "public option," also. That would be a great deal, and I can easily see, e.g. Texas taking it. But of course that would result in the "public option" going the way of Tenncare and Masscare and Detroit automakers: a slow and horrible death by strangulation and mass emigration of jobs and ultimately people.

    Can't have that. We all know the Worker's Paradise needs to have stout walls and possibly barbed wire around it, to prevent the foolish proles from fleeing their own utopia.

  • Mike M.||

    Reid, who spoke with virtually every member of his 60-member caucus this weekend, currently has between 56 and 57 votes for a proposal to create a national insurance plan but allow states to opt out of it, according to Democratic aides.

    I'm not exactly Einstein, but from my rudimentary calculations, that's about three or four votes short of what they need for passage.

  • ||

    You can say that again.

  • ||

    Comment threading enables jokes not otherwise possible!

  • Mike M.||

    Reid, who spoke with virtually every member of his 60-member caucus this weekend, currently has between 56 and 57 votes for a proposal to create a national insurance plan but allow states to opt out of it, according to Democratic aides.

    I'm not exactly Einstein, but from my rudimentary calculations, that's about three or four votes short of what they need for passage.

  • ||

    You underestimate democrats, Mike.

    60 are needed to vote for cloture, but after that happens, only 50 are needed to pass. Reid will try to convince some of them that "I was against it after I was for it" will get them past the angry voters.

  • Colin||

    From what I heard from Ben Nelson today, it just might be working.

  • Attorney||

    Why Won't the Public Option Die?

    Why won't statism die?

  • ||

    Judges. And lawyers too comfy with the fruits of rent seeking. And lawyers too timid to argue the constitution.

  • ||

    Most people are too stupid to realize it leads to economic and social ruin. Most of the minority who are smart enough to know it, plan to sell short and ride the general ruin to personal wealth and power. Keep in mind (as they do) that going back to the Dark Ages only sucks if you're a peasant.

  • Hugh Akston||

    I would be fully on board with a public option if it let individuals opt out of both the premiums and the benefits.

  • Chad||

    As long as there is a rider on the bill that says if you show up to the hospital and can't pay, you are executed on the spot.

  • ||

    How about asking private, for profit hospitals, to begin implementing your suggesstion, as a test run, on all negros who voted for the racist, affirmative action communist?

  • ||

    And retards get the ax too, regardless of any insurance.

    It hasn't been nice knowing you.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Non sequitir.

  • MP||

    It's Voorhees. Two O's.

  • ||

    This is actually good for us, because it pits Democrats against themselves, so we get the gridlock effect of divded government. If this goes on past Christmas, the chances of passing a bill diminish, since Congress has to go into 2010 election mode.

  • ||

    what Obama really supports is the passage of a bill—any bill, just so long as it can more or less legitimately be called "health-care reform." Now, it's obviously impossible to know for certain what the White House's thinking is. But my guess is that what he supports isn't so much one version of the public plan or another, but instead, whatever flavor of the public plan is most likely to result in successful passage—and thus, political victor.

    If what Obama wants is ANY bill, he should have picked a side a long time ago. Probably the Baucus bill.

    I have no idea what Obama is doing, but keeping the public option alive is *delaying* passage of a bill. It is not in any way making it mroe likely.

  • ||

    If the White House wants to advocate for the trigger, fine. If the White House wants to advocate for the public option, fine. But for the White House to host one meeting where they signal that they're uncomfortable with Reid's decision to push the envelope on the public option and then make a big effort to walk that meeting back after the left gets angry is confusing everybody.

    Obama is just trying to remain a blank slate. He's trying to stay popular ratehr than leading.

  • MP||

    Hope doesn't require leadership.

  • ||

    Indeed. I always thought it was a weird slogan. Hope is about wishing for things that *might* happen. It is not about them actually happening.

  • ||

    I have a different theory...

    Remember during the campaign when Obama was bashing Hillary over her public option health care plan?

    Well, they struck a deal where Hillary would fall out of the race in return for a cabinet position and Obama would help Democrats push her version of health care reform.

    So Obama isn't putting a lot of effort into getting the public option passed because he doesn't really agree with it, but that was part of the deal, so he does it half heartedly.

    That seems to be the way his administration works. They just cut deals. Look at the bailouts, the Russians, health care, etc.

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    I don't think so, Tim.

  • ||

    Well, Paul Krugman points out that the vast majority of people in MA both consider their reform a failure yet support continuing it. He gleefully notes that this means that reform is irreversible once passed.

    To anyone not a true believer, but reality-based, that means that it's an even worse idea to pass a flawed bill if it can't be changed.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    No wonder Massachussetts is fucked up.

  • ||

    It is irreversible once passed.

  • ||

    The problem with this notion, it seems to me, is that it assumes the White House supports a very particular policy.

    You've got that as a macro, right? Useful sentence, applies all the time.

  • Suki||

    Where would you rather live? In Gaza or in a thread with MNG?

  • ||

    Hmm, is this a trick question? Could I escape the hell of an MNG thread through emigration? Think I will have to go with Gaza.

  • MNG||

    The public option will not die because a lot of people think it terribly unfair and unjust for people to be sick or dead because they cannot afford to pay the price tag for it, while across the city some guy is sitting on an equally priced yacht bought from the trust fund his grandfather gave him...The idea that we can't do something about that because it would=TEH SLAVERY strikes a lot of people as nonsense...That ain't going to change anytime soon.

    And just to pre-empt the equally predicatable and stupid response "hey life ain't fair" I say, well, OK, when you get taxed to pay for that guy's operation then no bitching about unjust and unfair that is please: remember, "hey life ain't fair."

  • Atanarjuat||

    Since you're so caring, what percentage of your income do you currently give to charity for the health care of people in shithole countries? The disparity in income is probable comparable to trust fund guy vs. chemo guy. If you think we should tax trust fund guy @ 50% for other Americans' health care, why aren't you right now sending half your income to shithole countries for the same thing?

  • MNG||

    We should probably all be sending more money to both chemo guys and shithole country guys.

    You don't have any point: if a guy says it's right to not eat meat, and yet you discover the guy eats fries cooked in animal fat, that doesn't invalidate his claim about the vailidty of eating meat, now does it? Try again!

  • matt||

    Depending on why that guy doesn't want to eat meat and how he proposes to affect my life with his little idea, it might invalidate it completely.

  • MNG||

    Welcome to Stupidville, pop.=you.

    I mean really. How a man acts cannot invalidate an idea he has put forward, that is the basis behind the "ad hominen" fallacy dude. So you don't invalidate the claim that "a person who is in need has a right to another person's excess" by pointing to the fact that the maker of the statement might not be living up fully to that principle.

  • Mike||

    If, even a person that believes it is "right", does not contribute his own wealth to the cause he champions, he cannot expect people to take him seriously when he suggests others should contribute their wealth to his cause.

    You are also promoting the idea that this contribution you are suggesting be forced by men with guns if required.

  • ||

    I suspect that MNG secretly believes there's always more money out there. He hasn't seriously addressed what happens when and if he finds out there isn't.

    Progressives are completely incapable of allocating scarce resources. They think everyone is morally entitled to everything they need, whether it exists or not.

    And when it doesn't exist? They fumble around and blurt something about "democracy". We'll all VOTE on who gets the scarce resource. Like that's ever going to be anything less morally repugnant than an episode of 'Survivor'.

  • MNG||

    People with yachts do not make me think of scarce resources...

  • MNG||

    Just like you think people with guns should enforce the rights you believe in (tresspassing laws for example)

  • matt||

    I'm so glad you can explain the logical fallacies to me. It's so seventh-grade, but in a good way.

    "How a man acts cannot invalidate an idea he puts forward", perhaps, but not living up to it pretty much invalidates his right to expect others to live up to it.

  • ||

    " I say, well, OK, when you get taxed to pay for that guy's operation then no bitching about unjust and unfair that is please: remember, "hey life ain't fair."

    You seem unclear on the very distinct difference between "unfair" and "unjust". By your thinking I should be able to take your money at will, give it to my friend (who really needs it) and if you complain, say "Life ain't fair".
    Some deity or whatever made the guy sick, that doesn't justify punishing other people.
    If you want to help your friend with the expensive disease, try and raise some money his behalf.

  • MNG||

    Pray tell Socrates, what is the difference between fairness and justice...

    "If you want to help your friend with the expensive disease, try and raise some money his behalf."

    But let's say I can't raise enough, but you have plenty. Why can't I take it from you and give it to chemo guy? Because it wouldn't be "fair" to you ;)? It wouldn't be "just?"

  • Mike||

    You can't take it from him because he would resist you.

    Can you really be this self centered and stupid?

  • MNG||

    If a theif takes your money and you try to take it back he will resist you too. What a stupid principle Mike.

  • jesse||

    MNG,

    Are you retarded?

  • ||

    And where is this huge crisis of people dropping dead because they can't afford health care, please.

    I see people bitching because some people are *uninsured*, not because they are dropping dead.

  • MNG||

    Fail Hazel, the government keeps that from happening. Stroll down to your local hospital into the ER and ask the people "hey, do any people come in here who need care or else they would die? They will say "yup." Then say "so what happened?" And they will say "the government paid for it." That's right, the same government you hate so much...They take care of the problem, and then when someone talks about them taking care of it in a more efficient way you say "what problem, we don't need no steenking government!"

  • ||

    Fail Hazel, the government keeps that from happening. Stroll down to your local hospital into the ER and ask the people "hey, do any people come in here who need care or else they would die?

    Pardon me, but you don't go to the ER to get chemo like your example above. So does the government keep people with cancer from dying, again using your example above? You are picking and choosing scenarios - what a lame dodge.

  • MNG||

    Sigh. Ok Captian Smartypants, just change the chemo example to heart attack victim or a hundred other fitting examples.

    Sigh.

  • ||

    You mean pick the scenario to fit your argument? You're a central planner to the max, aren't you?

  • ||

    Actually, you're totally full of shit. My woman is an ER nurse, and on a given 12 hour shift she sees maybe one or two serious patients, e.g. people who have possible heart attacks, strokes, or serious complications from serious things like cancer or MS.

    The other 20 or 30 people in the ER she sees are there for minor trauma -- cuts that need stitching, falls from bikes and trees that need X-rays, the occasional broken bone -- and minor to modest illness, like flus, viral infections of many sorts, moderately high fevers, lots of throwing up, that kind of thing. Almost none of them would die, or even suffer permanent consequences, if forced to wait until a weekday morning, find a doc, sign up for Medicaid or what have you, get an appointment, et cetera.

    But why should they? The ER is always open, and they never turn you away, even if you never pay the bill.

  • ||

    MNG demonstrates a basic lack of knowledge regarding the issue at hand. Most of the people in the country's ERs at any particular time are people who have medicare as their primary financial resource.

  • MNG||

    And Medicare is, or course, funded by voluntary associations...

    So you agree Seward, currently many people who show up needing care are not taken care of by market processes, but the government.

    Hence, the market does not allocate health care resources to those who need it very well.

  • ||

    The universe doesn't allocate health to those who need it very well.

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    People don't allocate health care resources to themselves very well. It's not "the market"'s job to make sure everyone has insurance.

  • ||

    Which program is this. Cause last time I checked if you walked into the emergency room, you'd get treatment, but you'd still have bills to pay afterwards.

    The government doesn't just pick up the tab for anyone.

  • Cannon Asesrb||

    Fail MNG, the reason why the government can force coverage is that the government isn't running health care. Right now you could say they are enforcing health care of last resort (that is something that is in your wet dreams every night, mommy government taking care of you) via saying "You must treat every 'emergency' situation".

    What happens when the government pays for your health care and decides "Opps, we are out of resources. Your social achievement rating is too low; therefore, we can't even treat you on an emergency basis. Therefore, by law we are barring you from any further care. Well we are not entirely without compassion, here is an aspirin."

  • Paul||

    Well, I'll see your people dying from lack of healthcare and raise you one 90-year-old woman who borrowed $500,000 from the bank, gave it away to some person with a vague connection to the family who then disappeared, then blamed her inability to pay it back on "Predatory Lending".

  • MNG||

    Yeah Paul, FUCK that old lady! She deserves all she gets bro!

  • ||

    How about the old lady who doesn't get treatment because there's fucking doctor's shortage?

    Fuck her man. Society has to conserve it's collective resources. Someone havs to sacrifice for the "common good". let it people we collectively decide aren't worth keeping around, socially, I mean. Through a democratic process. We can all vote the elderly off the island.

  • Paul||

    Yes MNG, fuck the old lady.

    Two times.

    If I gave half a million to an estranged family member, then went crying to you because the bank is mean to me, how much money out of your bank account would you bequeath to me? Exactly.

    Which reminds me, I have a home equity loan-- I could sure use some help on that, MNG. I take paypal.

    Fucking predatory lenders...

  • ||

    while across the city some guy is sitting on an equally priced yacht bought from the trust fund his grandfather gave him

    The assets that will be seized to pay for health care are actually more along the lines of genuine, productive capital. Sort of how we've been paying for the whole welfare state since its inception, really.

    Come on, there's still a little more seedcorn left in that silo!

  • ||

    Incidentally, this is a left-wing trope I make of point of mocking often in my personal discussions with lefties ... the idea that there are huge flotillas of yachts out there just waiting to be carved up and turned into health care(somehow).

  • MNG||

    Well duh Graphite it was meant to be a little light hearted, you know. But hey, let's be tight-asses: how about paying for health care reform via a massive inheritance tax?

    See, problem solved.

    For me...

  • Mike||

    I propose we enslave MNG to pay for healthcare.

    He would do it to us.

    "But let's say I can't raise enough {to pay for my friends healthcare}, but you have plenty. Why can't I take it from you and give it to chemo guy? Because it wouldn't be "fair" to you ;)? It wouldn't be "just?""

  • MNG||

    I'm taking you with me Mike.

    I love the "have to pay taxes to pay for what other people need"=Antebellum Slavery! Rhett, Scarlett, etc.!

  • MNG||

    Because when you think of slavery, you think of forcing people to help others in dire need...

  • ||

    Because there's always more resources to help people in need when the government is in charge! Heck, they can just PRINT MONEY!

  • MNG||

    There's those yachts Hazel. Again, that aint scarcity...The resources are out there, they are just poorly allocated.

  • ||

    Really? A yacht is what, a couple million dollars? You'd need a couple hundred thousand of those to pay for the Baucus bill.

    And are you really arguing that nobody should have a yacht until everyone is immortal?

  • ||

    Liquidate every estate in the U.S. and divert the proceeds into a form of consumption -- why, what could possibly go wrong?

  • Paul||

    Negative. I was in the silo this morning and all I found at the bottom was a Post-It(tm) note with the letters I-O-U on it.

  • ||

    No, my response wouldn't be "hey life ain't fair" but rather "Holy Christ, dude, did you fail 7th grade math or what?"

    What bizarre innumeracy leads you to believe that the number of trust-fund idle-rich yacht owners equals or exceeds the number of people who are "sick and dead because they cannot afford to pay the price tag for" multiple brain surgery, $500/day experimental cancer meds, a heart or marrow transplant, whatever?

    And if you perhaps realize that the number of exploitable rich is necessarily far, far fewer than the number of sad and deserving poor, then what kind of loaves and fishes miracle are you hoping for, that will magically multiply the wealth of the few rich to pay for the wants and needs of the many poor?

    Here's a clue: if the average person can't pay for his health care, then there is no system whatsoever, no conceivable spreading of wealth, redistribution, or reform, that can. Nothing will work, any more than it's possible for all the Lake Wobegon children to score above average on their exams. You can prove it with math, really.

  • Enemy Of The Revolution||

    Ah, the old scapegoat of liberalism: the trust fund baby on a yacht. Let me guess - in this fantasy of yours, he has a cigar in one hand and a glass of Dom Perignon in the other, and is chuckling about the plight of the poor, right?

    Of course a lot of the people that you advocate taking money from don't have yachts or trust funds. They have what they earned by honest work. And neither you nor the government have any right to it.

    Thanks at least for being honest that your guiding principles are essentially the same as those of a purse snatcher.

  • Cannon Asesrb||

    MNG is right, wow I see the light. Tell you what it is unfair that I have anything more than the next person. The government should confiscate every last resource everybody has, pay out a stipend of let's say $50 a week (just to give us an illusion of having some choice to buy stuff in our life), and then provide food, shelter, health care, and education. After all, that would be perfectly "fair", right?

  • Bronwyn||

    Why even waste the effort on the illusion? We can all live out in the open while the government tears down every house, brick by brick, beam by beam, and builds a nation full of perfectly equitable shacks.

    Then we can all wait in line for our daily rations of bread and milk.

    Nobody wins, nobody loses... Everybody wins!

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Who are these people that are sick or dead because they can not afford to pay the price tag for it?

  • MNG||

    I'm not sure why people can't see the wisdom of libertarianism on this issue, after all, in Libertopia people in late stage terminal cancer would totally be free to engage in awesome market driven entrepeneurship and hard work without pesky government taxes and regulations to work off any voluntarily assumed hospital bills. The fools! Don't they see?

    Pulling on bootstraps not so easy for chemo-weakened individuals...

  • ||

    Quick question, MNG. Are you even capable of engaging in honest debate? Or do you deliberately mistate other's opinion's knowing yours could never stand up unless you distort the opposition?
    As a troll, you're no Joe.

  • ||

    And in your universe people with late stage terminal cancer would get the magic elixer of other people's money, which apparently is guarenteed to make them well.

    Everyone has a cost-benefit analysis. Including the government.

  • Paul||

    If they're 'chemo-weakened', then they're getting healthcare. So what are we debating here?

  • MNG||

    Captian Nitpicky to the rescue!

    Just change "chemo-weakend" to "cancer ravaged." Happy? Good, you're happy but still wrong, like the retarded guy who sweeps the floor at my local lumberyard who thinks Superman is real...

  • ||

    And in your universe, the goverment would never, ever, deny treatment to anyone for any reason, right?

    Or are we still admitting that someone would have to ration it this week?

  • Michael Ejercito||

    The government should deny health care to sex offenders.

  • ||

    A perfect example of what would happen in a "democratic" health care system.

    Sex offenders? Illegal immigrants? Fuck 'em.

    Children and minorities? More walk-in clinics please!

  • Paul||

    You think "Healthcare Reform Overhaul" will only cost $150 billion a year, and I'm equated to someone who believes superman is real.

    Psst: Obama's not superman.

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    RACIST!

  • Paul||

    'Cause government healthcare budgets are always square on target.

    "Anything that is on the track that we're on today will not only derail health care reform but could literally derail the economy," said Lynn Nicholas, president of the Massachusetts Hospital Association.
  • Michael Ejercito||

    Do you want to pay for the health care of sex offenders who are out of jail or prison?

  • ||

    MNG,
    If we lived in a libertarian society, we would probably have a cure for cancer already, and going to get it treated for the most complicated medical malady would be the equivalent of going to get a meal at burger king.

    Instead we have you and your socialist friends thwarting progress, and miss allocating funds at gunpoint.

    joke at will of whether it is slavery or not. It fits the definition though.

  • Wacky Hermit||

    Dude, my friend's sister-in-law just died of cancer, without any health insurance. We put on fundraisers and collected so much in donations that not only did they pay her medical expenses, they sent the entire family to Disneyland and there was still money left over to meet extra expenses after her death.

    Nobody but you expects the sick person to work to earn the money. That's what communities are for. For Pete's sake, man, my 11 year old daughter knows how this works. She baked cookies and raised over $100 for the cause herself.

  • ||

    Hey Hermit? My mom needs a bone marrow transplant and I want to fund-raise for her. Any tips or advice?

    My e-mail addy is behind my name.

  • Grandpa Whithers||

    I just heard on the ED show that the public option has to pass in order to keep the Democratic Party from self-immolating. They said that if people are forced to buy insurance on the free market, and if at some point it becomes unaffordable, the absence of a public option would cause them to defect en mass.

    They also said that it is laughable that Republicans are complaining how the public option would create unfair completion given that in any other case they would be extolling free markets.

    The Ed show. I have to laugh.

  • Andrea||

    "They said that if people are forced to buy insurance on the free market, and if at some point it becomes unaffordable, the absence of a public option would cause them to defect en mass."

    ****************
    So the absence of a public option combined with unaffordable health care would be bad for democrats, but the presence of a public option with unaffordable health care would be okay?

    Their only difficulty, then, is with who is paying for this unaffordable health care.

  • ||

    Would you rather live under a public option in the US, or under a crumbling bridge in Gaza?

  • G Mc||

    IMO, I think that we'll see at the least, a universal single payer health care system in the U.S. by 2050. With or without the passage of the current crop of reform bills, costs will continue to rise at an unsustainable rate. At some point, the pressure for such a universalized system (from either a bankrupt populace or a bankrupt government, most likely both) will become too great, and medical care will be socialized so that prices can be in some way artificially controlled.

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge||

    Yeah. And then McDonald's will be forced to leave the US too, just like it's leaving Iceland. And then where will we be?

  • Michael Ejercito||

    And then the universal system will collapse on its own, because only people with big medical problems will participate.

    Healthy people will continue with private insurance.

  • ||

    medical care will be socialized so that prices can be in some way artificially controlled.

    And then life expectancies will drop due to tremendous force on the supply of medical providers and the explosion of demand on free health care. Then we'll be a profitable nation again.

  • G Mc||

    Not saying I support it, just that I think it'll eventually happen.

  • ||

    The public option will not die because a lot of people think it terribly unfair and unjust for people to be sick or dead because they cannot afford to pay the price tag for it, while across the city some guy is sitting on an equally priced yacht...

    They could call it the resentment bill.

  • Alice Bowie||

    States should NOT be allowed to opt out. Individuals should be allowed to either pick the public option or pick private insurance. And, only those who pick the public options should pay the premiums.

    Plus, with the exception of emergencies, hospitals/doctors should not be required to treat people who do not have insurance unless they can pay.

  • ||

    States should be absolutely be allowed to opt out. It's hopefully the first step in secession of the saner states.

    Individuals will be allowed to pick the public option or private insurance, or even no insurance if they want to pay the penalty. Of course the individual mandate probably gets thrown out as soon as it gets to the SCOTUS. And the public option in Reid's latest clusterfuck is ostensibly supported by individual premiums. Except for all the hidden federal support money it will get, as well as the implicit or explicit guarantee of a bailout. The public option is TBTF.

    And hospitals/doctors are not required to treat people now who don't have insurance with the exception of "emergencies." They're totally free to turn away government customers right now (and they do) and I haven't heard otherwise in the latest monstrosity of a bill, and so you'll get even more doctors opting out. So we'll get to pay even more taxes for a public plan no one uses and everyone will have to go out of pocket to get any real care.

    The thing is such a disaster on so many levels that I almost think it is an evil genius plan to destroy the federal government once and for all. They pass this and cap-and-trade and the US is over inside of a decade. It's probably over inside of a decade if they do nothing at this point, but it'll be a spectacular end this way. I mean try paying the interest on $20+ trillion in debt with close to 1/5th of the population out of work and sucking on the tit of entitlements. Game over.

  • ||

    I mean try paying the interest on $20+ trillion in debt with close to 1/5th of the population out of work and sucking on the tit of entitlements. Game over.

    Have you heard of inflation? That's how it's done. Germany paid a far larger debt in the 1920s that way.

    In the case of the United States, the only funny part about that is that one gigantic loser in such an inflation would be the Chinese government, who hold enormous quantities of dollar assets, which would inflate into worthlessness.

    Of course, given that the Chinese will at that point have a monstrous excess of unmarriageable -- i.e. essentially futureless and very angry -- military-age men, to go along with their nukes and suborbital delivery technology, this may not be quite as funny as it at first seems.

  • ||

    If only those who pick the public option pay premiums for it, what is the point of forcing everyone to buy insurance?

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge||

    Define "emergency".

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Here is a better idea.

    There should be no national health care.

    State governments should decide on their own whether or not to provide universal health care, as Massachussetts and Tennessee already do.

  • ||

    Maybe -- just like the horror films of yore -- the public option is continually revived back to life by the deus ex machina of our national media.

    Dead public option? Let's quote that Nickelodeon/Disney poll where 90% (of Spongebob viewers) would totally die if there wasn't, like, a public option.

    Public option still dead? Let's get Olbermaddow to talk about how the public option "that all Americans say they want according to an MSNBC/Daily Kos poll" is BAAAACK!!

    Public option still limp? Let's note that 1% bump in favorability (from 42% to 43%) as a large shift in support back towards the public option.

    P/O hemorrhaging still? Make fun of Palin's facebook, get the Scientologists in Hollywood to put together a youtube clip, and rent out an episode of that Julia Louis-Dreyfus/ Wanda Sykes sitcom.

    Tried the smelling salts on P/O, still didn't work? Call everyone against the P/O a racist teabagging redneck or Ron Paul supporters....who hate poor people! Yeah, that's the ticket.

  • ||

    And be sure to show pictures of rich people on the yacht they bought with their inheritence. Maybe get Michael Moore to do the voiceover, since he's taken a a vow of poverty, but unfortunatly not one of silence.

  • mike farmer||

    I not sure what useefulness there is in talking about different forms of the public option, or to speculate on Obama's waffling. The fact is that Obama wants the public option route to single payer, as do all the progressives, and this is what "reform" is about -- nothing more, nothing less. The public option, although only a "sliver" of reform, is the key to socialized medicine and a powerbase that ensures a permanent passover to majority heaven, or so the progressives believe -- it's a religious thang.

  • ||

    The public option is like the Roman grain barge.

    Once everyone is on the bread dole, it's impossible to get them off. And then the government becomes about who can shovel the most bread into the mouths of the mob.

    The progressives know this. That's why they want everyone on the dole. The more dependent on the state everyone is, the more support there is for social welfare programs.

  • MNG||

    But Hazel, as the government is of course the most inefficient thing imaginable (right?) surely noone will be satisfied with their "bread production" and will turn to the RuggedIndividualistEntrepenuers of the Magical Mystical Market for their bread, so that would never, ever happen ;)

  • ||

    Not if bread production by anyone other than the government is allowed. The heavier the involvement by Uncle Sugar, the higher the likelyhood of failure. See e.g. education, drug war, financial crises, etc.

  • MNG||

    Because the current plans in front of Congress are for the outlawing of private insurance...

    BTW-I'll be sure to tell the three private schools I pass on the way to work that competition with the state in education is not allowed...

  • ||

    Because the current plans in front of Congress are for the outlawing of private insurance...

    Yes, there are, if the plans don't meet certain requirements. So if you have a high deductible plan and an HSA to cover minor or routine treatment...sorry, even if you like it, you have to drop it, even if it encourages savings by getting consumers to, you know, check prices and stuff. That whole market thing again.

  • MNG||

    What kind of crazy goofball thinks an HSA is enough to cover him? That's borderline madness, like thinking one is Napoleon...

  • ||

    What you can't cover with the HSA, like some type of "emergency" you would then use your high deductible plan. Lots of people are doing that right now. Or did you miss that part?

  • ||

    You've been sucessfully contradicted, MNG. The current plan would in fact outlaw cheap private insurance. it woudl effectively mandate that all private insurace have to be comprehensive, and therefore expensive.

    The governement isn't lowering costs, it is in fact deliberately raising them.

  • ||

    No one ever said the free market was efficient at giving stuff away for free MNG.

    "Try again" haraharharhahrhaharhahrharhar!

  • MNG||

    Here's another thing it appears to not be very efficient in: allocating health care to those who need it.

    Harhar

  • Jordan||

    Yeah, just wish away the past 60 years of massive government involvement. How about that free market in vaccines too!

  • MNG||

    Ah, but Jordan, whatever the effect of government involvement in health care for those years, you can't argue it matches the level of involvement in other industrial nations, and yet they seem to allocate health care to those who need it better....EKON 101 to the contrary...

  • ||

    Are you really dumb enough to believe that the government would allocate health care resources according to some pure, philosophical system devised by a team of saintly bioethicists?

    OF COURSE it wouldn't. Ivory-tower academic bioethicists have neither the connections, nor the machiavellian tendancies necessary to run a government agency. it would be totally run according to what is politically expedient. Resources would be allocated to demographics that are important in electoral swing states. They would be allocated according to what companies have offices in which congressional districts. Just like fucking NASA, and every other government run program. here would have absolutely no connection to your abstract concept of "fairness" or "social justice".

    You're a damn fool.

  • Chad||

    Are you really dumb enough to think that the market would allocate health care according to some divine, perfect philosophical system whose assumptions are completely invalid in real life?

    Blah blah blah.

    You're a damn fool.

    The facts are what they are, Hazel. We pay more, suffer more risk, but don't get more. That means our system isn't working, philosophising be damned.

  • ||

    Yes, let's impinge on people's freedom so we can exchange one unfair system - where the unfairness is produced by nature - for one where the unfairness is produced by political expediency.

    What a fucking improvement that would be.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Maybe if we had price controls...

  • Naturally Right||

    "Need" it according to WHOM? You? Who are you (or anyone) to judge who needs health care and who does not? That you seem to believe anyone is capable (or has the right) of doing so (aside from emergency triage) is strong proof that you are not -- and that you are a blighter to boot.

  • Paul||

    Insofar as North Korea collectivized bread production and... well, we know how that turned out.

    Sorry, MNG, you're teetering ever closer to turning Healthcare Reform(tm) into the Great Leap Forward.

  • mike farmer||

    I'm not sure...not, I not sure

  • Paul||

    Peter:

    Is it a fast public option, or a slow public option?

  • Paul||

    the idea that there are huge flotillas of yachts out there just waiting to be carved up and turned into health care(somehow).

    I found one.

  • ||

    Oooh, those dining chairs will make fabulous MRI machines!

  • Mike||

    I am very glad to see the states can opt out of the plan. If this is accompanied by a smaller federal tax burden for those states, it represents what I would consider a huge victory for decentralizing govt. If we consider the 10th amendment to be a relevant part of the bill of rights, we should do this will MOST of the bills passed by the the federal government.

    I know about the commerce clause, but I reject the idea that an interstate highway system negates the validity or importance of the 10th.

    The US would be a much better place if states could opt in and out of govt programs based on a vote within the state. The system would be self evolving, bad or impractical programs could be allowed to die while effective and public approved mandates could spread.

    You could move to a place which most closely matched your preferred govt system. States would separate along ideological lines, allowing govt to best serve those people it affects.

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge||

    It would be good, yes.

    But it wouldn't give the social engineers the raw power they want. Which is why it'll never happen.

  • MNG||

    Cost of Afghan/Iraq War: 1.6 trillion
    http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITI.....war.costs/

    Cost of Health Care Reform: 150 billion a year

  • Jordan||

    Being opposed to all: priceless

  • ||

    Beyond the merits of either (both are stupid IMHO)...

    Well, that is just a rather odd way to compare things actually; total costs of a project vs. annual costs of a project.

  • Paul||

    MNG, you know that's not true. What was medicare supposed to be costing? Something like $9 billion a year? Free stuff always costs more.

  • ||

    Sorry, but as you point out, we spent the money. It's gone. Ain't coming back. We broke. A broke govt is going to provide lousy healthcare. Figure it out.

  • Den of Earth||

    Dude, the cost is not the real issue. It's easy to have health care "reform" that costs nothing, or even that saves huge amounts of money. Just ban any form of health care more advanced than what was available in, say, 1920. Wow! I bet you'd save $1 to $5 trillion a year! Plus everyone could be covered, and with suitable redefinition of terms (e.g. excluding deaths of children under 1 week of age, maybe the deaths of illegal immigrants, or violent deaths and car crashes) you could have pretty much the same life expectancy, mostly.

    The problem here is that everybody knows your arguments that we can have the same super top notch care we all know we now get, for all our grumbling, and pay far, far less if only the government ran things, is just utter fantastical unicorn rainbow piss nonsense.

    So when you come along and say we're going to take things over, make decisions for you, all 300 million of you, all at once, and spend less money, we know very well where that's leading. Oh yes, we'll all be "covered." And it won't cost nearly as much. Just like concentration camps have amazingly low food bills.

    The thing you intellectual fools on the left don't quite get is that if you ram this thing through, and it isn't corrected soon enough, the consequences are not necessarily just your defeat in an election, oh dear bad show old chap! well better luck next time.

    You may find yourself under a tree at midnight with some very, very, very angry folks who have lost someone near and dear to your social engineering experiments tying a knot in a rope. Consider the rise of the BNP in Britain. Take a look at the faces of those "Tea Party" grandmas and grandpas. Remember 1994, and, if you want more horrific examples, 1933 in Europe. This is not a game, and you are playing with fire. You might be better advised to go back to the far safer ground of GLBQ advocacy, affirmative action, and sucking SIEU cock.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Dude, the cost is not the real issue. It's easy to have health care "reform" that costs nothing, or even that saves huge amounts of money. Just ban any form of health care more advanced than what was available in, say, 1920. Wow! I bet you'd save $1 to $5 trillion a year! Plus everyone could be covered, and with suitable redefinition of terms (e.g. excluding deaths of children under 1 week of age, maybe the deaths of illegal immigrants, or violent deaths and car crashes) you could have pretty much the same life expectancy, mostly.


    Was health care in 1920 cheaper?

  • ||

    Why Won't the Public Option Die?

    Zombies?

  • jesse||

    You gotta enjoy the little things

  • MNG||

    The Libertarian answer to SCHIP: repeal child labor laws so those sick kids can have the FREEDOM to work overtime (well, the overtime pay laws are abolished, but you get my drift) to pay for their hospital bills!

  • ||

    The Libertarian answer

    Oh goody, another breath of hot air strawman from MNG. So easy to knock those down, ain't it?

  • MNG||

    So c'mon sage, then what is the Libertarian answer to SCHIP? Those kids ain't getting any younger...

  • ||

    vouchers

  • ||

    Private charity.
    That shit people used to do before their outsourced their compassion to a subcontractor.

  • MNG||

    Yeah, when the average life expectancy was 35...

  • Anonymous||

    If you believe there is a single "Libertarian answer" to just about anything, you must not know many libertarians...

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    Okay, there's the child labor ad hom. Are you going to bring up roads next?

  • ||

    The problem with the public option is that it's trying to cure the canard that health insurance corporations are to blame. Remember when AETNA became the largest health insurer by acquisition--then dumped thousands of insured people? Most of us, myself included, jumped to the conclusion that these must have been the more expensive individuals to insure, e.g., pre-existing conditions, &c.

    Nope. Not even close. AETNA was losing $100 million a day, and simply pulled out of the markets in which it could not compete because of crappy deals with Health Care Providers. It was paying $13K for an appendectomy at the Mayo Clinic, whereas CIGNA, United Health, and others had negotiated a cost of $1500 for the same procedure.

    Remember when the Congress lashed out at pharmas for charging 2x, even 3x as much for Medicare Rx? The new law forced the pharmas to charge everyone the same. So the pharmas simply raised _everyone's_ rates.

    This is what will happen with a public option.

    How is it that I have learned this with cursory research, but no one in any Presidential administration since health care became an issue knows this?

    The scoundrels are the providers... as is often the case in a regulated market.

  • Michael Ejercito||



    The problem with the public option is that it's trying to cure the canard that health insurance corporations are to blame. Remember when AETNA became the largest health insurer by acquisition--then dumped thousands of insured people? Most of us, myself included, jumped to the conclusion that these must have been the more expensive individuals to insure, e.g., pre-existing conditions, &c.


    Why are health insurance companies being blamed anyway?

    When gas prices went up, Congress did not blame the auto insurance companies; they blamed the oil executives for price gouging.

    Doctors and hospitals engage in price gouging; strict price controls will put an end to that.

  • JW||

    Why, WHY, is anyone talking to MNG tonight?

    Go down to the bus station if you want this kind of douchy-crazy.

  • ||

    Good point. He's seriously off his meds today.

  • prolefeed||

    I am very glad to see the states can opt out of the plan.

    Opt out this year. You don't really think a Democratic majority in Congress won't come back after this passes and * fix * that little compromise that got them to 60 votes?

  • prolefeed||

    The US would be a much better place if states could opt in and out of govt programs based on a vote within the state.

    The US would be a much better place if individuals could opt out of govt programs based on whether they think it's a fair deal or not.

    End the coercion, make it all voluntary, and 80 to 90% of the federal government would go away.

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge||

    How about giving each citizen line item veto power on their income tax returns? Then you get a card from the government showing what services you paid for and what you're "eligible" for.

    I like that idea a lot.

    It'll never happen.

  • Chad||

    Most government programs couldn't be "opted out of". How do you "opt out of" national defense, for example?

    Of the few major ones where you could (SS, Medicare, Medicaid), half wouldn't want to, and forty percent would end up regretting it. Have fun purchasing an individual plan at age 70.

  • Anthony||

    I am not so much any public option as anti-single payor. The problem I have is I do not know how to get to public option without the end point being single payor. Canada seems to be the only major country with true single payor though, and even there the Supreme Court has allowed private health care.

    So do I worry too much? Or maybe it is the President's statements in 2007 that he saw single payor as the end result of his program.

  • ||

    Canada is seeing a popular revolt against single payer. The history was that the "public option" was introduced in order to increase competition. Over time, private health insurance was outlawed, bit by bit. Now the people take it to the supreme court for the right to get private insurance back. In Canada, a ride to the hospital in an ambulance is not considered essential care, so it is not paid by the govt. So people have insurance to pay for stuff like that. It is more like AAA, really, as it stands. We will see if this court decision changes it.

  • ||

    Did I see someone seriously arguing that other coutries get better health care results? YOu have to start by throwing away the life expectancy argument: Because that deals in lifestyle choices, and once you get rid of people overeating, not exercizing and the like and compare apples to apples, statistically the US comes out better - far better. .and you have to throw out the infant mortality canard - because we count vastly premature infants that other countries don't count as live births, as live births, which accounts for the entirity and then some of the difference there. .and once you get rid of those two tired canards you are left with. . nothing?

  • ||

    All true, and also you have to throw out the "US pays way more than everyone else" canard, since if the US had been on socialized medicine during the 20th century, most pharmaceutical drugs and medical technologies that we take for granted today would not exist.

  • ||

    So the idea is the Federal govt collects taxes, fees and fines from citizens of all states but gives state govts the option to vote not to get any of it back instead of getting some of it back?

    Yeah, that'll work.

  • ||

    You have to be asking a rhetorical question.

  • ||

    The public option cannot die because the public option is the raison d'etre for health care reform.

    It is the trojan horse which will deliver national health care. It is everything; without it, you have nothing.

  • ||

    If one assumes that the "public option" will cost money from the taxpayers, and if states are allowed to "opt out," will opting out relieve them of the obligation to help fund the program? If not, the "opt out" concept is a cynical and deceptive farce.

  • jesse||

    But, but, Reid wants it so it must be good.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    A commenter on the Huffington Post wrote this

    "Complain about the insurance companies all you like, but they are just a sidenote and a distraction from the problem. Contemplate this: why do we need medical insurance at all? We don't need insurance to pay for any other things in life - cars, houses, etc. First we buy them, then we insure against losing them. The only reason we need medical insurance before we afford health care at all, is the incredibly insanely high price of health care. That's the real problem. Nothing we do about the insurance companies, including making them compete against a public option, is going to make this situation better until there are some kind of price controls on health care."

    I agree. There should be price controls, and the penalty for even going one cent over should be execution.

  • AST||

    Why won't it die? Because it's "progressive," and its proponents see themselves as the saviors of mankind. Promising the poor and stupid a free ride is key to their power, although they'll never admit anything so selfish.

    It they want to tax the rich, I recommend that it be restricted to Democrats, since they're the ones who think this is moral.

  • ||

    The administration certainly seems to be giving congressional liberals free reign over the shape of this legislation. I think most would agree that the American people should at least be allowed to see what’s in the health care bill. Here’s a video sent to me showing Candidate Obama promising to show health care negotiations on C-SPAN, while President Obama let Harry Reid write the bill behind closed doors:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmNdV0PSRy4

  • Matt||

    Looking at the debate as a whole, I wish President Obama would take a look back at some of the comments he made prior to being elected President. Candidate Obama promised us, the American people, that he would find a way to show health care negotiations on C-SPAN, instead, he let Harry Reid write the bill behind closed doors. We deserve transparency and a better idea what is being discussed and included in the bill.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmNdV0PSRy4

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Why Won't the Public Option Die?


    Because it no longer includes death panels?

  • poo||

    because rational and thinking americans don't want it to die

  • poo||

    because rational and thinking americans don't want it to die

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement