So, the public option! The GOP hates it, based on some weird read of free-market philosophy that says even though it will be a terrible and inferior product, it will nevertheless be too beloved by consumers for alternatives to thrive. The media thinks it's some oddball idea, which they constantly confuse with the socialized style medicine in Britain and Canada, when they are bothering to discuss the merits of health care at all. But the general public? Well, they love the idea of a public health care option. So, lucky for them the Democratic representatives they elected in large numbers to considerable Congressional majorities are... well, filled with people who have been bought off by insurance companies.
In the Senate -- where filibuster-proof supermajorities have become necessary to do anything, anymore -- Max Baucus, Ben Nelson, Kent Conrad, Mary Landrieu, Dianne Feinstein, Jeff Bingaman, and Blanche Lincoln have thrown up roadblocks to the possibility of a public option. Why? Because of something they call "centrism!" Paul Krugman made note of this in a column on Monday:
The real risk is that health care reform will be undermined by "centrist" Democratic senators who either prevent the passage of a bill or insist on watering down key elements of reform. I use scare quotes around "centrist," by the way, because if the center means the position held by most Americans, the self-proclaimed centrists are in fact way out in right field.
But what Baucus, Conrad, Landrieu, Feinstein, Bingaman, and Lincoln have found out there in right field are millions and millions of dollars from insurance companies which they can use to get re-elected! And when they run for re-election, they can all talk about the pressing need for more health care, which is just adorable!
So, what are the vast majorities of people who support a public option to do, arrayed against an indifferent media and cash-soaked coterie of compromised lawmakers? Well, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee will be running a new ad, calling out these wayward Senators, and are offering the public the chance to get all interactive and whatnot, by offering public option supporters a chance to have their name in the advertisement.
Well, it can't hurt! (If it does hurt, sadly, many of you don't have health care coverage.) The ad, sans names, runs as below:
PREVIOUSLY, on the HUFFINGTON POST:
Public Strongly Supports Public Health Care Option
NYT Poll Indicates Even Republicans Back Public Option