Yipe! An article on the AP this morning should cause any supporter of a public plan and those anticipating that Pres. Obama would come out strong for it in his speech to Congress, some pause and concern:
White House: public health care plan is negotiableBy RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR, Associated Press Writer Ricardo Alonso-zaldivar, Associated Press Writer – 2 hrs 18 mins ago
WASHINGTON –said Sunday a option is negotiable, signaling a potential compromise on an issue that ‘s liberal supporters consider do-or-die.
As Obama prepares for a Wednesday night speech to Congress in a risky bid to salvage his top domestic priority, political adviser David Axelrod said a public plan is not the core issue in the health care debate. danced around a question about whether Obama would veto a bill without the public option. The president “believes the public option is a good tool,” said Axelrod, who joined with Gibbs in a one-two punch on the Sunday talk shows. “It shouldn’t define the whole health care debate, however.”
Gibbs called the government plan a valuable tool. But asked if Obama would reject legislation that didn’t include it, he responded: “We are not going to prejudge where the process will be.” “I doubt we are going to get into heavy veto threats” in the president’s speech, Gibbs added. Gibbs said Obama will refocus the debate on the benefits of overhauling the system: more security and lower costs for the majority of people who have health insurance, and new ways to help self-employed people and small businesses get coverage.
“People will leave that speech knowing where he stands,” said Gibbs. He said Obama is considering offering his own health care legislation, instead of letting Congress sort out all the details.
I am simply bewildered by what appears to be a continuation of putting political calculation ahead of principle. Pres. Obama campaigned passionately about the need for a public plan and now, when that commitment is most needed, he makes it sound like an unnecessary luxury.
I just responded to Nellie with my respect and appreciation for Pres. Obama on many issues which is why that creeping feeling that he is willing to compromise the heart of Health Care reform makes me feel so bad.
He is in the DC bubble, maybe all around him (especially DLCer Rahm Emannuel) are convincing him that signing a weak and relatively ineffective health care reform bill is better than standing on principle and fighting for what’s right (and losing if necessary), that liberals will eventually get over it and Pres. Obama will be able to claim victory on Health Care reform.
Meanwhile, the reality is that premiums, co-pays and prescription prices will continue to soar without a public option. Even saying that a public option is unnecessary is pretty outrageous, co-ops have been proven to be ineffective in general in bringing costs down and if that’s what Pres. Obama is willing to settle for, he will disappoint and discourage a majority of his supporters.
There is one last theory that I used to believe in more than I do at this moment. Perhaps the game is to only appear as if the public option doesn’t matter so the heated rhetoric chills then have the Congress swiftly pass it and he can sign it into law. There is a logic and strategy to that but in light of the compromises on the Stimulus Bill, I just don’t know if that’s quite as likely to be the case.