Sebelius on the Sunday news program This Week has called the public option as “not the essential element” of the reform plan.
Robert Gibbs, appearing on Face the Nation was heard to have said “The president has thus far sided with the notion that that can best be done through a public option”
That’s code-talk for a change in the public option option.
And Obama himself, at the
“All I'm saying is, though, that the public option, whether we have it or we don't have it, is not the entirety of health care reform. This is just one sliver of it, one aspect of it.”
This is a far cry from what he said just a couple of months ago:
“I strongly believe that Americans should have the choice of a public health insurance option operating alongside private plans. This will give them a better range of choices, make the health care market more competitive, and keephonest.”
So why the change of heart? Why is it that the public option has morphed from a necessity for true reform to “one sliver” of it?
Is Obama still clinging to the idea that this can be done in a bi-partisan way?
No, actually I don’t think this is about bi-partisanship at all. The Republican Party is on the ropes and everyone knows it. Only one party is going to kill true health care reform, and it’s not the Republicans.
The answer, I fear, is that the heard of cats known as Democratic Senators and Congressmen are falling all over themselves to kill true reform. Some of these guys won’t fall in line, and Obama is either unable or unwilling to force the public option down their throats.
Before accepting defeat on this and settling for something so watered-down that it won’t solve anything, I would like to see Obama come over to these intransigent Senators and simply ask them “What’s it going to take?” And keep on asking them that until he hears the real answer.
Because we all know that these guys didn’t get where they were by being intractable louts. They got where they are now through “the art of the deal.”