I have criticized the Democrats for failing to properly use the power of their majority in Congress and the mandate from an overwhelming victory last November, so it's only right I give them their props for finally taking charge.
The public option was never a coherent, well-defined policy tool. It's an amorphous concept that stands as a symbol of reform and as a perceived antidote to the greed and callousness of the insurance industry.
Congress has the idea that health care reform is a political football game with two clear sides, and the public option a dividing line. But what if very few Americans see the debate through this prism?
The private insurance market has failed, and we've given them enough second chances. The American people support a public health insurance option that's available on day one, not a bailout of the insurance industry.
Let's not pretend Democratic health reform doesn't include new taxes -- and mandated fee payments to profitable private companies. If their bill passes in this form they'll pay a heavy political price for it. And they'll deserve it.
We will not be able to meet President Obama's pledge to be the "last President" to tackle health care reform unless allowing people to choose a publicly sponsored health insurance program is part of the final bill.