Is the House health reform bill as liberal as any health care bill is going to get? Some liberals think so, and Politico's reporting that they aren't happy—and that they're not being quiet about it. Indeed, Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which has blown its bankroll attempting to boost the public option recently, has entered full rhetorical overkill mode, telling Politico:
Politically speaking, undermining the public option is the 2009 equivalent of voting for the war in Iraq — except more Americans will die at the hands of insurance companies than died in Iraq.
I'm not even sure how to respond this sort of super-heated nonsense. Do I point out that there's nothing even remotely credible to back it up? The only study I'm aware of that goes into insurance-related deaths concludes that roughly 45,000 people die each year because of lack of insurance coverage. But that's become a talking point because it bolsters the liberal case for forcing people to buy insurance (yes, from insurance companies). I could also point out that even the rosiest projections for the public option—under parameters not being considered, even in the House—result in only about 135 million people being enrolled, meaning that tens, if not hundreds, of millions of people would still be insured by private companies. Unless, of course, Green is taking the we-don't-say-it-except-around-other-liberals view that the public option would eventually lead to a fully government-controlled single-payer system. But in that case, he's not actually complaining about the public option being undermined, he's complaining that we're not getting single payer. But that was never really on the table to begin with, and complaining about that would make Green—who I suspect wants to remain an effective advocate for public policy—seem like kind of a crazy, ranting radical, wouldn't it?