Does the Public Plan Have a Chance After All?


The Politico reports on an interview with Sen. Olympia Snowe in which she expressed interest in including a government-run insurance option in the health-care reform bill now making its way through Congress — provided the public plan's creation is dependent on a "trigger" mechanism. In other words, the public plan would be implemented down the road if (and only if) the private market wasn't able to accomplish certain goals like bringing down costs or increasing coverage. The thinking is that the threat of a public plan would pressure insurance companies to become more efficient in order to ensure that a government-run plan never actually comes into existence.

The Politico calls the AP interview a "bombshell," which seems kind of overblown given that Snowe has mentioned her support for a triggered public plan before, but it does point toward what I suggested in my article yesterday: A public plan might pass, but if it does, it's very likely to be in a weak form that's rather less powerful than progressive advocates hoped.

In addition to yesterday's article, I also wrote about various aspects of the public option here, here, and here.