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Thursday, October 08, 2009

Public option state "opt-out" gaining traction?

I actually conceived of this "states-rights" idea ("Dems Discussing Public Option With Opt-Out Clause: The Silver Bullet?") on my own and entered it as a comment in a prominent on-line publication over a month ago. Another commenter found it a stimulating idea and reinforced it in that publication. I revisited it a week ago in this blog when I saw that the same or a very similar idea was being bandied about by a Senator ("Validation: a public option George Wallace in his heyday could love"). I had never seen it before -- to be more accurate, I do not remember ever seeing it before -- and since I do a pretty good job of rotating through the main blogs on a daily basis, I am claiming sole credit until advised otherwise.

Whatever, it is getting some serious attention and I'm trying and failing to see any down side as a master stroke to break the Blue Dog impasse. Can Max Baucus or Kent Conrad really get away with denying New Yorkers or Coloradans something they want badly? So let the culture warriors debate in Austin or Little Rock whether they will let their citizens have the right to choose the public option. Let the GOP governors make fools of themselves. I'm betting it will go the way of the various governors threatening not to use stimulus funds. When citizens in the particular recalcitrant state realize it's just an option that is as far as you can get from a "government takeover" of healthcare -- and they will come to realize that when the debate is localized -- worries about private insurer profits from "unfair" Federal competition will dissolve with lightning speed.

Meanwhile, availability of the public option won't even be an issue in Northern tier states with about 70% of the U.S. population. Even if eligibility is limited to those who do not have viable plans available through an employer, that could mean 20, 30 or even 40 million million users. That's clout. Even with regional-compact non-profit plans -- e.g., five regions with a lot more bargaining power than most states on their own could muster -- the user base for each would still be huge.

Net: in the end, with Blue States adopting it without controversy and Red States falling in line when the people speak, it will be a nationally-available public option. Mission accomplished.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I say this sincerely. KUDOS, KISSWeb, for creative thinking!! And that's not just for your opt-out contribution but also for your continual stream of outstanding posts.

8:04 AM  

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