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The goal posts have moved on the public option

Brian Beutler caught up with Sen. Ben Nelson to ask about new poll numbers showing that not only is the public option popular, but a partisan bill with a public option is more popular than a bipartisan bill without one. In response, Nelson averred that there's even more support for a public option that allows states to opt out. "There's support for public option generally, generically," he admitted. "When you start talking about it specifically as it relates to states being able to opt out or opt in, have their own, the support overwhelmingly goes up to 76 percent."

That may well be true (I'm not sure if I've seen poll numbers on the subject), but the fact that Nelson's position has become "states can opt out of the public option" rather than "no public option at all" suggests the goal posts on this are moving, and rapidly. Shailagh Murray and Lori Montgomery have more.

By Ezra Klein  |  October 21, 2009; 10:41 AM ET
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Actually he's all messed up. See Jon Walker's post on this issue:

Posted by: bmull | October 21, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Still comes back to the philosophical question... if you create a public option but make it unavailable to 95% of the insured, does it still lower costs?

Posted by: consid24 | October 21, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

I just contributed another $50 to keep the heat on Harry:

Posted by: akmakm | October 21, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Why is it that the goalposts started out as totally against a public option but moving the goalposts have been towards the possible inclusion of a public option with an opt-out provision?

Why wasn't it the other way around? Why didn't we start off with a robust public option and allowing the goalposts to be moved slightly towards a possible opt-out provision?

Posted by: constans | October 21, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Could somebody explain to me how making the payer the govt is going to make things cheaper?

Please address the following points in your answer:

Federal employees get generous pensions and make significantly more that private sector employees.

If significant technology advances come along, say a way to bill the payer automatically at time of service that obviated need for staff, just as an off the wall example, how do you get rid of now redundant large numbers of govt employees to realize the savings?

How does medical innovation continue when a govt that is already trillions in deficit, not just debt, is expected to pay for it?

My bet is that the answers to the above from anybody who does answer, nobody will, will consist of rhetorical questions, or unsupported assertions, proof of which relies on shared belief system with the asserter.

Posted by: moptop | October 22, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, how do we keep politicians from using the jobs as political payoffs?

The nice thing about private insurers is that if any of the above problems get too bad, it goes out of business and another private company takes its place. Not so with a single payer.

Another thing? Glad you asked. How do you sue the government if they decide not to provide you with care?

What about politically popular diseases like breast cancer, which in Canada gets real time attention, and politically unpopular diseases like heart disease, where you can die on a waiting list there?

As answers, I expect the following patter "Reject first! Ask rhetorical questions later!" I can even say it and liberals will still do it.

Posted by: moptop | October 22, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

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