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Public option: Good policy or evil plot?

Our Readers Who Comment are fulminating this morning about the so-called government-run "public option" in the health-care reform bill the Senate agreed on Saturday to debate. Some think it's a great idea. Others see a terrifying socialist plot to deprive some of us of the right to die because of an inability to pay for medical care.

As Shalaigh Murray writes, "...the fragile consensus in the Democratic caucus will face its greatest test yet as the health-care debate moves to the Senate floor and Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) struggles to stave off internal schisms. The cracks in the 60-member caucus are most obvious over the public insurance option."

A few of our readers are still hoping for the already dead and politically impossible "single payer" concept, a government-run program like Medicare that would serve everybody. Many Democrats are angry with Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), who said he will oppose any bill that includes a public option. The fun is just beginning. More than 300 comments have been filed at the hour this is being written.

We'll start with nurashnulwld, who wrote, "Sounds like a marketing fiasco to me. Do you mean to say that a majority of Americans support a public option, but Congress, including the Democrats with a majority of votes, are unable to pass it because...why?... Sounds like you'd be keeping the private health insurers honest if it passed... it also sounds like the private health insurance industry has effectively out-manuevered the American people and Congress."

But AlbyVA said, "Why Can't You Liberals get this through your thick heads? NO PUBLIC OPTION!!!!!! Having a public option means employers will take the 8% hit so they can dump their workers onto the Federal Government. It won't take long before everybody is on the Public Option. And when that happens, your health care will be determined by some bureaucrat in Washington. Uncle Sam will now place God over your life. Only Mon-Fri, of course."

jas7751 wrote, "The only positive thing the Radical in the White House and Socialist led Congress has done is awaken the Silent Majority. This is a Conservative Nation and it will not stand for the leftist deceit and irresponsibly that the current Administration and out of control Congress have exhibited..."

jryan758 wrote, "Lieberman will pander to the insurance companies since they're headquartered in his state. He always has put special interests above what's best for our country. The insurance companies hate the public option so it must be good for America..."

Martial recalled that "...the pro-cholera types opposed public sanitation in London until the big stink, whence the Thames smelled to high heaven. Not death of the poor, but the affliction of the nose caused the sewer to be built. These days, the product of cholera, rice water stool, is sprayed with reckless abandon by conservatives on this debate. Let them see how all stinks with their logic."

To which douglaslbarber replied, "Martial, you're quite right - though it's important to add that the rich were generally spared these public health epidemics and, most relevant today, always attributed them to the immorality of the poor. The germ theory of disease came as quite a blow to their moral theory of disease."

And RichardHode added, "Yes, but not a death blow, unfortunately. The moral theory of disease comes out in full bloom whenever a disease presents itself that cannot be identified in lab tests with the existing techniques... The moral theory is fully alive in the masses of forms the DEA forces pain doctors and patients to fill out at regular intervals. There is an irrational obsession about drugs on all sides... All that falls solidly within the purview of the moral theory of disease which lives on and on."

billisnice wrote. "The problem is that this bill is just taxing folks to keep up the old broke system. No real saving... The non partisan commission is hand picked by Obama."

Bertilak said, "Someone should remind these holdout senators that the public option WAS and IS the compromise between no change at all and a single-payer system. Also, if they really don't like the idea of a government-run insurance plan...why not get rid of Medicare and Medicaid and the VA?"

dboylan5540 suggested, "Nothing wrong with passing the bill this year without the government option and then campaigning on the issue next year. When a bigger majority is obtained by the Democrats it should be no problem to pass a separate bill putting the government option (or perhaps a single payer system) back in."

Auburninbp wrote, "...The Final holdouts - Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Democrats Lincoln, Evan Bayh of Indiana, Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Mark Pryor of Arkansas - are all just waiting to see how much the Dem leadership will pay for their vote. This politics at it's worst... Where's Jimmy Stuart when you need him? Be nice to see some integrity in Washington."

Mindboggle said, "The Bill is not about health; it is about power. Joe Lieberman is correct. Our economic system is in dire straits; yet, the liberals would destroy out system to show that they have the power. If you will study the financial aspects of this albatross you will understand that our economy will be ruined with this bill."

But rmljr1 asked, "Couldn't the Democrats figure out that Joe Lieberman, at the first opportunity, would pull his pants down and stick his behind in their faces. They should have stripped him of his committee chairmanship."

timechange28 wrote, "Our great congress has the best government run insurance program you can get. So it makes me wonder why they don't want their fellow Americans to enjoy the same benefits they receive? I believe firmly that congress should have to give up their current plan and go on social security and then they would really know what us regular folks are facing at retirement..."

limeybuster2020 said, "If you rightwing republicans think the status quo will do it then you will see the companies around america drop health care for their employees because of high premiums. Wonder where these right wingers were when Bush was in office and health care premiums were going through the roof. Republicans are happy with the status quo even it destroys america."

We'll close with Utahreb, who suggested, "Depending on your stand on this bill, wouldn't it be a better use of time to email or call the Senators with your views? That is exactly what I will do today... We, the people, can make a difference if we stop raving and ranting amongst ourselves and to to the people who will be debating and then voting on this bill."

All comments on this article are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  November 23, 2009; 6:36 AM ET
 | Tags: Health-Care Reform, Public Option, Senate  
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For real needs such as fire victims, other disfiguring events (car accidents, war wounds, etc.) and corrections in birth defects, NO TAX.

For most face lifts ? The fourth nose job of a singing star ? Maybe Tax?

Posted by: lufrank1 | November 23, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

We, the American people who realize that inaction on health reform is not an option, need to hold the obstructionist Republicans to account as well. While I may not agree with many things in the Senate bill, an opportuniity to debate and offer amendments should be allowed. The fact that Republicans don't even want to open the floor to debate suggests that they have no interest at all in reforming a broken system, doing the will of the people (public option is still wanted by most Americans in polls), and carrying out the business that people elected them to do. The most incredulous fact is that they are shameless when it comes to them not having any alternative proposal to work from as we move forward. They have no proposal at all, just no after no after no after no. The American people are tired of naysaying obstructionists who offer no alternatives and the people will speak in the 2010 election to that end.

Posted by: StevenGreer | November 23, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

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