Democrats in Congress and in the White House should do well to remember this poll which was run by HCAN:
"Nationally, voters oppose a mandate to purchase private insurance by 64% to 34% but support a mandate with a choice of private or public insurance by 60% to 37%... Each [survey] found that likely 2010 voters oppose ‘requiring everyone to buy and be covered by a private health insurance plan’ but support ‘requiring everyone to buy and be covered by a health insurance plan with a choice between a public option and private insurance plans.’"
The trigger is designed to make sure the public option never gets started, and there are claims that the threat of the trigger will be enough to create competition from private insurers. These claims are not borne out by any sort of evidence, such as the trigger for Medicare Part D, which never got triggered, and we're still making overpayments to Medicare Advantage plans at great taxpayer expense. Please read up on the legislative history of such triggersbefore declaring support for a trigger that is designed to never let the public option get started on a national scale.
Also, the question I'd like to see answered since AHIP basically said that with the bill, insurance premiums will rise 110% over the next ten years, why even keep the trigger for the public option on the table? Haven't they already demonstrated exactly why we need a trigger-free public option?
We have to continue to make it clear that a trigger on the public option does not in any way make it competitive against private insurers, and that we're not going to fall for that as a "public option" in any shape or form whatsoever. And that the White House can't continue to sell that line to us about a trigger being workable and co-ops being an acceptable alternative to us through their WH aides and through Senator Reid, who is working with the backing of the White House, to find another "compromise" on the already-compromised opt-out public option.
Do you remember what people were saying about the opt-out "proposal" when it was floated as a trial balloon a few weeks ago? People immediately jumped on that proposal, thinking in the only best outcomes, such as states being required to be in the public option for two years or more before opting out of the public option. People were saying that it'd be political suicide for states to opt out once the population in these states got a taste of the public option.
Then Senator Reid released the opt-out proposal in the merged Senate bill, which DID NOT require states to be in the public option for a minimum of years before opting out. The provision allowed states to opt out immediately before the public option even got started, which effectively reduces it to a regional public plan, thus reducing its market power. One of the many reasons floated for the opt-out by so-called "progressives" was that it was needed to gain the backing of the Senate conservadems who're currently hijacking the health "insurance reform" bill with their list of ransom demands. Well, these conservadems aren't on board.
And the trigger is back. Why are we compromising on an already-compromised public option? It's gone through several versions in this ongoing process, with each version being weaker than the other because the White House and the Democratic leadership enable the conservadems in the Senate to hijack the process, and they're not willing to expend any sort of political courage behind the threat of reconciliation to bring these conservadems in line.
As long as the White House and the Democratic leadership continue to enable the conservadems, we'll see future progressive legislation being watered down and weakened significantly all in the name of the "bipartisanship" that the conservadems want with Senators Snowe and Collins who had similarly weakened the stimulus bill with their list of ransom demands.
It's why we need our progressives in Congress to continue to stay strong on their insistence that the final conference bill NOT have a triggered public option, but a public option that is competitive nationwide. We're going to be hearing a lot of drum-beating about the trigger in the days ahead, so please don't let up on those phone calls to our progressives with these talking points below!
Hi [Representative's Name]. I want to thank you for supporting the public option, but I don't want you to support a trigger or the state opt-in proposal for the public option! A trigger on the public option would be a surrender to the private insurance companies. Please don't let the insurance lobbyists win by allowing a trigger on the public option, or by allowing states to opt-in to the public option. I want a national public option that's available in all states immediately without an opt-out, an opt-in, or a trigger. I also don't support co-operatives as an alternative to the public option since the CBO have said they will do nothing to lower costs of private insurance premiums. If the bill doesn't have a public option to control premium costs, please vote against that bill!