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So Harry Reid has allowed Tom Carper to come up with the "Plan B" on the public option if he can't get 60 votes for opt-out. Carper's plan? Combine the two worst ideas:

In states where private insurers fail to offer affordable coverage, Carper said the alternative would permit them to set up a non-profit board, likely appointed by the president, to offer insurance.

"That kind of approach might come close to hitting a sweet spot for a lot of people," said Carper, noting the approach "addresses concerns about government-owned, government-run."

The plan would be a form of a so-called trigger option pushed by Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, and some Democratic moderates. Moderates have been meeting to coordinate some of their efforts on the overhaul.

A triggered co-op! A trigger that's never going to trigger to create a co-op that will never work. Seriously, this is their Plan B? Whatever happened to comprehensive healthcare reform? Whatever happened to providing affordable choices to all Americans?  Which leads to this nugget:

The Democratic aide said staffers have tried to keep Carper’s alternative quiet due to concerns that publicity could draw attacks from liberal activists, which could complicate efforts to line up support from the full Democratic caucus.

Ya think? Yes, liberal activists will oppose this because it's utterly worthless. And we're not the only ones who say so. Remember what the CBO said about co-ops?

(The proposed co-ops had very little effect on the estimates of total enrollment in the exchanges or federal costs because, as they are described in the specifications, they seem unlikely to establish a significant market presence in many areas of the country or to noticeably affect federal subsidy payments.)

They don't do anything. Which under Carper's plan is probably not so big an issue because if he's using the Snowe formula for his trigger, the trigger will never be pulled. Which actually does make it a big issue again, because this option won't do anything. This is not reform. It's got all the substance of wet cotton candy.

I am really hoping that Reid has tasked some more creative thinkers than Carper on a solution to the public option issue. They'd be far better off just scrapping this whole Rube Goldbergian contraption, pass the insurance reforms and pray that they'll work and then spend the $900 billion on expanding Medicaid and Medicare.

Or, getting serious about passing real, substantive reform in form of a public option that provides serious competition to the insurance companies through reconciliation. But don't try to pass this weak shit tea off on us as reform.

For more discussion, see slinkerwink's diary.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Wed Nov 11, 2009 at 11:12 AM PST.

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