03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

White House Thinks Trigger More Progressive Than Opt-Out: Mark Whitaker

According to NBC News Washington Bureau Chief Mark Whitaker, some in the White House -- and on Capitol Hill -- think a 'triggered' public option is preferable to an opt-out plan, regardless of political realities.

"There is a view I have been hearing from the White House, and people on the Hill as well, that actually the compromise that Olympia Snowe favors, which is the trigger, is actually more robust -- to use the progressive term -- than the opt-out," Whitaker told David Shuster on MSNBC Wednesday afternoon. "What I'm hearing from some top aides working on health care in the White House is that they actually think ultimately the trigger may be more effective in driving prices down and creating competition and they were actually surprised when Olympia Snowe started to propose it."

The White House pushed for the Senate to choose a triggered public option, which would only come into effect if the insurance industry failed to meet certain benchmarks. Public option advocates saw the compromise as basically no public option at all. At the time, it seemed the Obama administration was merely bending to political realities. Now, they apparently think the trigger is better policy, whether or not it increases the health care bill's chances at passing the Senate.

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