I remember that day on Election Day as I turned on the television with my fiance to watch the culmination of what we'd worked so hard for with our canvassing, donations, and time spent talking to recalcitrant family members into voting for a straight Democratic Party ticket, starting with Senator Obama at the top of the ticket and all the way to the bottom in local state races. We watched in happy disbelief as President Obama strode across the podium, flanked by his family and the ever-genial Vice President Joe Biden waving to the crowd in Chicago. I turned my head and saw that we'd taken a huge majority in the House and the Senate.
"This is it, we've done it. Now we can get real health care reform passed, especially the public option so we don't have to be shackled to employer-based insurance, and can use it if we want to start our own business, and it'll be affordable." I said to my fiance, thinking about the huge landscape change that'd come with real health care reform.
I didn't think at the time that the public option, which was a part of the reasons I voted for President Obama, would become such a political football once insurance companies started lobbying Members of Congress and the White House Administration. I didn't think that our elected Representatives that we'd worked so hard to elect would turn around, hiding the fistfuls of lobbying money in their pockets from private insurers, and start selling away the robust public option, and that our President and the White House administration would start floating the idea of a trigger, co-ops, and call that a "credible" idea in spite of all the historical evidence against triggers and co-ops.
And that Senators in the Senate would continue to demand no public option after concession after concessions were made on the public option to please them.
First, they conceded on a robust public option based on Medicare plus rates.
Then, they conceded on a strong public option based on negotiated rates by limiting it to the uninsured, small businesses, with a few provisions in the House bill allowing for a later expansion of the exchange and public option.
And, they floated regional public plans as a trial balloon. They floated state-based public plans as a trial balloon. They floated the trigger as a trial balloon. They floated the opt-in as a trial balloon.
Then, they conceded on a national public option based on negotiated rates by allowing states to opt out before it even gets started, which reduces it to a regional public plan that hampers its ability to compete effectively against private insurers.
And now, the trigger's back again because the conservadems know they can make any demands they want by threatening to filibuster the health care reform bill, so the public option continues to get watered down because the Democratic party leadership enables these conservadems.
A triggered public option, or in this case, Senator Carper's stupid triggered state-based co-ops, would never work, and it's designed not to work like the two triggers in Medicare Part D and other triggers in history.
You know what stops these conservadems from exerting so much power? By not giving into their ransom demands, and by continuing to hold up reconciliation as a threat. Senator Reid doesn't want to do that. He's scared because he'd actually have to do something real to push back against the conservadems and it upsets the power paradigm that he's used to in the Senate.
No more excuses. I look at Senators like Blanche Lincoln below in this video, delivering a speech against the public option, and I'm angry because the Democratic Party allows this sort of crap by enabling Senators like her.
I'm tired of these excuses against reconciliation from the Senate. It's time for Senator Reid to stand the fuck up for us on the public option.