Pulling the Plug on "Public Option"
We have an angry and despairing bunch of health-care reform advocates among our Readers Who Comment today. They berate a Post editorial that says the "public option" needs to disappear and call Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) all kinds of things for saying the time has come to do less, not more, to fix our dysfunctional health-care system.
Readers are furious with the editorial's conclusion that eliminating a public health insurance option from the legislation is "is not a matter of ideology but of political nose-counting." Sen. Grassley, one of the three Republicans supposedly working in the Senate Finance Committee to come up with a bipartisan bill, is seen as an evildoer in false clothing. The insurance companies are also the target of many barbs.
Those who want little or no change are smiling and relatively (but not completely) quiet on the comment boards.
We'll start with bitterpill8, who wrote, "One can always rely on a member of the editorial team to come up with a pro-insurance piece. This is an idotic contribution and does little to address the real concerns of most Americans: how to have good health at a reasonable price..."
But Realist20 said, "The Post is right - either Obama drops the Public Option or he does NOT get Health Reform. It's time Obama stands up to the far left wing of the Democratic party - if he doesn't, then he immediately becomes Jimmy Carter II."
Nodoubt1 wrote, "Your editorial does not explain how the continuing rise in premiums would be slowed or reversed without powerful leverage against the insurance companies in the form of a public option. And unless those increases are slowed, the program, and our nation, will go down in bankruptcy..."
ebw343 wondered, "Why do liberals think that there is such a thing as a free lunch? Someone has to pay for expanded entitlements -- that someone is taxpayers, and polls show clearly they don't want more debt. All leading economists agree that if you want to "bend the curve" you have to tax health benefits."
rodneythecat wrote, "Uh, the current plan also mandates that individuals and companies buy insurance. With no public option to provide competition, I think progressives ought to demand that theses mandates be taken out of the bill also. After all why should I be forced to subsidize insuance companies fighting against my best interests if there is no alternative plan to keep them honest?..."
jhough1 wrote, "...The Democrats would literally be suicidal as a party not to pass the public opinion."
B2O2 asked, "Why do so many Republican rank-and-file folks hate themselves so much? Why do they lay down their lives and their families' lives so gullibly in service to the health insurance companies who hold them in such contempt.[?]..."
Lorberrys predicted that "In the absence of a single-payer or some sort of public sponsored insurance option, all that will be left will be a multitude of legislative tweaks of the abysmal status quo, the sheer volume of which will only serve to mask what an utter failure the entire effort will have been ... except for the insurance and pharmaceutical industries and their lobbyists, from which the sound of champagne corks popping will be unmistakable."
Aformerjournalist said, "...That the public option is a fixation of the left is a vile, flat-out lie, a corporate talking point. Wherever one hears this lie, one knows one is dealing with corporate propagandists whose intent is to deceive and exploit the American people rather than give the American people the policies they want."
dem4evr wrote, "3 things must happen this year.
2.remove pre-existing condition clause from private insurance.
3.create catastrophic plan to back stop insurance plans.
incrementalism is the key here. carefully move, measure, then respond...."
DOps said, "...For Obama -- this is the time for real leadership. He should step up and take the option off the table and have the Congress craft a bill without it. No games, no secret provions which could be construed as getting a public option administratively later -- just get a good bill..."
All comments on the editorial are here.
Now to the comments on the Grassley story.
Matthew_DC wrote, "...Please help me with this: I understand that a public option will drive out private business and lead to socialized medicine, which is socialism, which is the system which killed 100m people in the 20th century, so this vote is really about whether hundreds of millions of Americans are going to die. All that nonsense is perfectly clear. What is not clear is: why do most of the countries with which we have military alliances have "socialized medicine"? UK? Canada? The rest of NATO?... And why haven't hundreds of millions of their citizens been killed since they introduced socialized medicine back in the 1950s/60s?..."
elbartels said, "Note to the GOP. You lost. Why in the world are the Democrats allowing this group of head in the sand know-nothings to hijack and control the legislative and political agenda?"
To which coloradodog replied, "Excellent question. I think it is because they're not guerrilla fighters like Cheney and Rove who use Limbaugh hate radio and RNC Fox News to scare and anger granny to leave her soap operas to go out to raise hell at town meetings..."
FellowTraveler said, "Grassley spreads misinformation that drives public fear and then says we should scale back because of that fear? Give us a break!"
cats2 said, "We need to understand as a populace how dishonest the campaign against health care reform really is. We don't have to fall for this. It's our country not the insurance companies'."
mmcgowan1 wrote, "Sen. Grassley has made it clear that there is no version of health care reform that he could support. Like other members of his party, he is more interested in gaining political advantage than watching out for the interests of the American people. He has actively spread misinformation and lies about the proposed reform efforts and is a disgrace as a US senator."
All comments on the Grassley article are here.
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