Is Blanche Lincoln canny or misinformed?
For months now, Blanche Lincoln has been saying that she "would not support a solely government-funded public option." This has really annoyed progressives, as none of the bills include a government-funded public option. The public plans are entirely funded from premiums, much as private plans are.
But what if it's a brilliantly canny move? Back in July, Lincoln wrote that "individuals should be able to choose from a range of quality health insurance plans. Options should include private plans as well as a quality, affordable public plan or nonprofit plan that can accomplish the same goals as those of a public plan." In other words, she was, at one point, supportive of a public option. It's not hard to see why: The policy was, and remains, quite popular. But it's also quite controversial. Her uncommonly specific formulation seems to give her room to vanquish a fiscally irresponsible, wildly liberal version of the public option that doesn't exist while opening the door to a version of the public option that does exist.
All that means she can have her public option and eat it too, or something. I wouldn't say I'm wildly convinced by this line of reasoning. But it fits her statements closely enough that it seems somewhat possible, too.
Photo credit: By Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press
November 17, 2009; 4:52 PM ET
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