Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Public Option "Opt Out"

How clever can the Democrats get? You have to give it to them. Why, you ask? Well, it's like this ...

I can see no difference between the "Opt Out" provision of the Public Option in the Senate Health Care Bill and the argument that Democrats have been making all along that a government option is always an "opt out" option.

From the very get go, Barack Obama has gone to great pains to try to convince Americans that including a public option in the Health Care Reform bills did not mean that anyone would be forced to choose the government plan. Obama has always maintained that anyone would be able to choose any plan he or she pleased. And yet this argument just never seemed to gain traction. However, now we have a proposal in which states could opt out of the public option. So, the choice is still there; but the only difference now is that the public officials of each state have to decide for its citizens that they aren't worthy of the choice of a public option while citizens in other states are worthy of such a choice. And yet this seems to be gaining traction!

What I see happening is that states that initially "opt out" will be passing a sentence on their residents, a sentence that will be met with a wave of out-migration and relocation because of their myopia. And those citizens that do stay will feel so slighted that their friends and relatives in other states have yet another choice, that they'll make it almost impossible for even the most die-hard anti-public option conservative state lawmaker to not ultimately "opt in."

It seems to me that the new plan, which appears to be gaining some traction, is even much more of a guarantee that a public option will be part of the end result for all Americans. And, furthermore, all Americans would still have the chance to choose the public option or not!

So, it's the choice of a public option for all Americans through the back door! Clever, clever clever!


Eric said...

Pretty slick, I agree, but the really ballsy move was slipping it into the bill without debate, so that a bunch of existing work and consensus (among Dems) that had already been hammered out now hangs on the reaction to this 'opt out' plan. If it doesn't pass (a very real possibility, Lieberman is voicing support for a filibuster, and some moderate Dems are virtually guaranteed to lose thier job next year if they vote for it), that's going to be a huge backfire.

mominem said...

The Opt Out is pretty much a crass political move by the Democrats to punish any state that opts out. Any Governor opposed to a Public Option who doesn't will be mercilessly pounded as a hypocrite.

I can't imagine any state actually opting out.

Huck said...

mominem - But that's the genius of the move. Why is it a "punishment" for states to opt out? You'd think that states would opt out because the real "punishment" would be to force states to "opt in." The only way to think of the "opt out" as a punishment is if you actually think of the public option as a benefit! It exposes the fact that conservative opponents to the public option really have no substantive arguments against participating in it other than some visceral hatred of everything that has any whiff of government around it.