Dems Discussing Public Option With Opt-Out Clause: The Silver Bullet?
First Posted: 10- 7-09 04:53 PM | Updated: 10- 7-09 05:24 PM
Senate Democrats have begun discussions on a compromise approach to health care reform that would establish a robust, national public option for insurance coverage but give individual states the right to opt out of the program.
The proposal is envisioned as a means of getting the necessary support from progressive members of the Democratic Caucus -- who have insisted that a government-run insurance option remain in the bill -- and conservative Democrats who are worried about what a public plan would mean for insurers in their states.
"What folks are looking for is what gets 60 votes," said a senior Democratic Hill aide. "The opt-out idea is very appealing to people. It has come up in conversations. I know personally that a handful of members have discussed it amongst themselves."
In conversations with the Huffington Post, sources have said that while the opt-out approach to the public plan is in its nascent stages it has been discussed with leadership in the Senate. It was pulled out of an alternative idea, put forth by Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and, prior to him, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, to give states the power to determine whether they want to implement a public insurance option.
But instead of starting with no national public option and giving state governments the right to develop their own, the newest compromise approaches the issue from the opposite direction: beginning with a national public option and giving state governments the right not to have one.
"It is being discussed," said one progressive strategist who has been working on reform with both the White House and Congress. "In the end obviously, the goal and near-term exercise is to get to the bargaining table and get to the conference committee between the Senate and House with the strongest position [on the public plan] possible."
How such a system would work is still being debated, according to those with knowledge of the proposal. But theoretically, the "opt-out" approach would start with everyone having access to a public plan. What kind of public plan isn't yet clear. States would then have the right to vote -- either by referendum, legislature, or simply a gubernatorial decree -- to make the option unavailable in their health care exchanges.
For conservative Democrats -- especially those from states with major private health insurance industry interests -- this concession could be key, allowing them to punt a vote on a public plan to local governments. For progressives, it would not be the hardest pill to swallow.
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I feel as others on 'the left of the left' - this is utter BULLSHIT.
States can ' opt out'?
WTF IS THAT?
So, if I live in New York, I can get insurance, but not if I live in Alabama.
I have said from the beginning about healthcare is that I see it as a right. I see it as a CIVIL RIGHT.
WHY am I getting deja vu once again, going back to the creation of Social Security and those who talked about ' getting something - you know FDR didn't get all he wanted on social security at first...it had to come in...over time..'
Yes, over time....on the BACKS OF BLACK PEOPLE WHO WERE CHEATED OUT OF WHAT THEY HAD WORKED FOR. For nearly a GENERATION, Blacks who worked in certain professions, who got up every damn day and went to work at underpaid, underappreciated jobs, were CHEATED OUT OF THE CHANCE TO PUT INTO SOCIAL SECURITY, and the end result of that is those that actually made it to Senior Citizenhood, had FAR LOWER BENEFITS.
States ' opt out'?
How the hell is that anything other than STATES RIGHTS?
Oh, how it's ok for these ' state opt outs', where the MAJORITY OF THE BLACK POPULATION in this country lives. Just name a state where you think that the state would ' opt out', and outside of Utah and Wyoming, there's a sizeable Black population.
I told you, I have no interest in a shiny signing ceremony for a piece of legislation that is bullshyt and doesn't fix the problem. I don't care if The President ever gets another shiny signing ceremony.