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

Rep. Grijalva, Key House Progressive, Close To Conceding The End Of The Public Option

In an interview with The Plum Line's Greg Sargent, Representative Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) indicated earlier today that he might be able to support health care reform legislation that hewed closely to the Senate bill.

That's of some import -- as the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Grijalva represents those House members who are most likely to draw a line around retaining the House's public option when the bills reach conference committee, a move that would end up ensuring the final legislation's filibustering in the Senate.

Grijalva seeks a concession that might be workable under the circumstances: he'd like to "move up the implementation date for insurance coverage and make it more in line with the earlier date in the House bill." Via Sargent:

I asked Grijalva if he could support the bill if such a change were made, even if it lacked a public option or other similar concessions sought by liberals.

"It would sweeten it somewhat," Grijalva said, "if they speed up the coverage mechanism."

He added: "That would be something I'd have to look at very closely."

Grijalva is aware that what looks passable at the moment will nevertheless allow millions of Americans to continue to fall through the cracks in the system, and told Sargent that his progressive caucus "would continue fighting for some kind of public component."

It's pretty to think that someone will continue to fight for actual health care reform after the bill Congress is likely to produce is passed. And those efforts might be actionable if, say, President Barack Obama were to sign the bill into law with the sober acknowledgment that while they advanced the cause of reform, they ultimately missed the mark. But it seems to me that the measure of reform we're likely to gain will be celebrated "Mission Accomplished" style -- so I have to wonder where the political will to fight for what Grijalva wants is going to come from.

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