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Pelosi's public option plan

PH2009101603650.jpgTPMDC's Brian Beutler takes a look at Nancy Pelosi's sneaky strategy to pass the public option: Ask CBO to score it, and then make public the score, showing that a bill with a public option can do more at less cost than a bill without a public option.

In other words, Pelosi is going to make a policy argument. The hope is to get a CBO score showing strong public option not only makes the bill cheaper, but also allows you to have better subsidies and a more generous benefits package.

You'll have to admit that it's a pretty devious tactic, as Washington tends to judge such things out of bounds. Even so, the Senate has not traditionally had much trouble rejecting sound policy ideas. What happens when the undeniable numbers meet the shameless chamber?

Photo credit: Harry Hamburg/AP

By Ezra Klein  |  October 19, 2009; 5:12 PM ET
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Food is at least as important as healthcare and healthcare insurance. Without it, you won't need either.

So I propose a public option in food production. We'll have the federal government produce food and vertically distribute it through government grocery stores. It will be cheaper because the government will not have to deal with showing a profit and the expense can be subsidized by the taxpayers.

Then, as consumers learn that they can cut their food costs by say 20%, they will all start buying their groceries at the government food store. When the commercial food stores find they cannot get and keep customers, they will give up and exit the market.

I call this the SINGLE FEEDER plan.

And, of course, once the competition is gone, the government can do as they please. They can offer you what *they* deem appropriate and if you don't like it, you can go pound sand.

Posted by: WrongfulDeath | October 19, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

"What happens when the undeniable numbers meet the shameless chamber?"

Ans. - Victory for Public Plan and bankruptcy for nation.

Posted by: umesh409 | October 19, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

I'd bet on the shameless chamber, sadly. Where else would 57 people out of 100 agreeing on anything be seen as not having the votes.

Posted by: zeppelin003 | October 19, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

umesh409, usually I might think your fears would be understandable, but this time around we got tons of other countries who have used their governments to regulate health care more closely. Some even offer an insurance option to the public. They're not bankrupt! They didn't devolve into dictatorships. Why bring the crazy for a tiny US version of these other, far more successful systems (in cost and in numbers covered)?

Posted by: Chris_ | October 19, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Your comment was stupid and ignorant the first time you copied and pasted it, WD. Repeating it just embarrasses yourself and your mother. Go back to the dunce corner.

Posted by: pseudonymousinnc | October 19, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, I thoroughly enjoyed your sarcastic and facetious comments: "Nancy Pelosi's sneaky strategy..." and "You'll have to admit that it's a pretty devious tactic, as Washington tend to judge such things out of bounds." But those pompous right wing Repubs will probably not realize you're being sarcastic, so you might even get postings from them commending your enlightenment. Let's hope the CBO scoring result is good for the House public option bill. If it is, I'll be eagerly awaiting all those new-born, deficit-hawk Repub House and Senate members to support the House bill after blasting the Dems for being budget and deficit busters. Ooops, I forgot: hypocrisy doesn't bother them in the least.

Posted by: zippyzeph | October 19, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Chris_: I will be happy to be wrong here and have made myself the laughing stock.

The problem here is as the WaPo Editorial couple of days pointed out, Senate is putting another bill of $250Billion to reimburse Doctors for Medicare cuts. That is not included in Baucus bill so when CBO says that as $81Billion surplus over 10 years, that is not correct. Ezra as much said in his earlier post. Besides as per that post CBO assumes that Congress will cut Medicare costs as proposed in the Baucus bill. There is no track record for that nor iron clad case for that. Meaning potentially you are talking about $Half Trillion Dollar deficit due to this Health Bill, without Public Option. Then you want to me to believe it will go away because of Public Option?

Either people like me are fools who are too pessimists (though I support the reform) or learned people like Ezra and others find it 'too lowly' to address the questions we raise.

My only fault is I keep on asking what are the measures Congress is ready to adopt that these proposed cuts are going to stick and there will not be outside bills to again finance those cuts with more borrowings.

The silence is deafening here.

Posted by: umesh409 | October 19, 2009 6:36 PM | Report abuse

I don't know what happens when "the undeniable numbers meet the shameless chamber?"

Where does the WP reporting team come down on this same question?"

My betting that Lori Montgomery sides with "Shameless Chamber" and turns the "undeniable numbers" into "deniable numbers".

Why does she hate a strong public option?

Posted by: grooft | October 19, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

This is why Dems always lose. They want to make "policy arguments". WTF? As if someone cares about the CBO...

Dems need to make the case that Terry Schiavo would still be alive if we had a public option. Or, that Balloon Boy wanted the public option so his parents had to hide him in the garage. These would be winning arguments. Dems are looking to the CBO? Help me.

Posted by: stevedwight | October 19, 2009 10:43 PM | Report abuse

Weren't we supposed to be getting a CBO score of Single-Payer at some point? What happened with that?

Posted by: MattMilholland | October 20, 2009 3:11 AM | Report abuse

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