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I've been busy. Normal daily blogging will continue tomorrow. Here's something quick on yesterday's health reform news-front.
Surprisingly, to me at least, the health reform bill to be introduced in the Senate will include a public option.....
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced what we've been reporting today - the merged health care bill will include a public option allowing states to opt-out.
"Under this concept states will be able to determine whether the public option works best for them," Reid told reporters. He said it was the "fairest" way to go.
The debate is just getting started....but I must say,....I didn't think a public option would be tolerated by a corporately-compromised Senate. I was incorrect in predicting that a public option would be excluded from any final legislation.
But what kind of public option will one with an opt-out provision be?
A divisive one.
What if Medicare had included an opt-out provision? Would it have been okay for conservative-voting states to have opted-out of Medicare for their states' seniors? What would Medicare look like today, how would seniors' healthcare be different today, if states would have been permitted to opt-out of Medicare?
Will this be the template for future legislation? For example: should the just-passed hate crimes legislation have included an opt-out provision for states that recoil at the thought of giving equal rights to gay Americans? If not.....why not?
While liberals consider a public option indispensable in light of Congress' refusal to even entertain the most cost efficient and universal-coverage method....single payer, government run coverage for all.....including an opt-out provision for an already limited public option, I think, will backfire.
In the age of TeaBaggers, BeckerHeads and Palin's Posse...is there any question that radicalized conservatives will pressure "red" states to "just say no" to the public option? Won't refusing the public option be proudly worn as a badge of honor by states where 57% of Republicans today think Obama is not a U.S. citizen?
Just consider the implied "secession" talk by Texas wingnut governor, Rick Perry, over the federal stimulus bill. Several "red" state governors tried to block their states from getting federal funds. With an opt-out-of-the-public-option health reform bill included in final legislation....what are the chances that the unhinged, townhall buster-upper groups will proudly opt-out?
Olympia Snowe (R-ME) will not vote for a bill with a public option even if it includes an opt-out provision....she said so. Bipartisanship, today, is similar to the existence of unicorns. Reid included the opt-out provision, I'm sure, to mollify conservative Democratic senators who want to have it both ways.....but why build-in such an opportunity for national division?
There will be a lot of discussion in the next couple of weeks about this opt-out issue. While I'm pleased, and surprised, that the final bill will include some form of public option.....with an opt-out provision, I also have serious concerns about further cracks in our national unity developing because anti-Obama, anti-Democratic states will claim victory over the evil socialists plan to destroy America.
I'm not sure how that helps the country in the long run.