The public wants the public option, or at least, maybe they will after Nancy Pelosi re-brands it:
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) - A government-sponsored "public option" for health care lives, though it may be more attractive to skeptics if it goes by a different moniker, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday.
In an appearance at a Florida senior center, the Democratic leader referred to the so-called public option as "the consumer option." Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., appeared by Pelosi's side and used the term "competitive option."
Both suggested new terminology might get them past any lingering doubts among the public—or consumers or competitors.
"You'll hear everyone say, 'There's got to be a better name for this,'" Pelosi said. "When people think of the public option, public is being misrepresented, that this is being paid for with their public dollars."
I don't suppose that "Magic Pony Option" got the consideration it deserved. Dana Milbank explains the Nevada politics behind Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's decision to include a public option in the Senate bill:
I don't suppose that "Magic Pony Option" got the consideration it deserved.
Dana Milbank explains the Nevada politics behind Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's decision to include a public option in the Senate bill:
The Senate majority leader, after haggling behind closed doors with members of his Democratic caucus, realized that he couldn't cobble together the 60 votes he needed to pass health-care legislation with a government-run health plan. So Reid chose another option: He shut down the private talks, booked the Senate TV studio and went public with his own proposal.
"I've concluded," he told the roomful of cameras and reporters, "that the best way to move forward is to include a public option."
For Reid, it was an admission of the formidable power of liberal interest groups. He had been the target of a petition drive and other forms of pressure to bring the public option to the floor, and Monday's move made him an instant hero on the left. Americans United for Change hailed him for refusing "to buckle in the face of withering pressure from the big insurance companies." MoveOn.org admired his "leadership in standing up to the special interests."
Reid, facing a difficult reelection contest next year at home in Nevada, will need such groups to bring Democrats to the polls if he is to survive. But there were a few problems with the leader's solo move. He shifted the public pressure from himself to half a dozen moderates in his caucus. And he defied the Obama White House, which had hoped to keep a bipartisan patina on health-care reform by maintaining the support of Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine).
Then there was the small matter of lacking the votes to pass the public option. "Do you feel 100 percent sure right now that you have the 60 votes?" CNN's Dana Bash inquired. Reid looked down at the lectern. He looked up at the ceiling. He chuckled. He put his palms together as if in prayer. Then he spoke. "My caucus believes strongly there should be health-care reform" was the non sequitur he offered.
The Times has more.