Daschle: Obama should dump public healthcare plan option

ABC’s The Note reports:

In an attempt at bipartisanship, three former majority leaders of the U.S. Senate, Tom Daschle, Howard Baker, and Bob Dole, offered their solution today to the biggest obstacle to achieving health care reform — a public option.

“While I feel very strongly that consumers should have the choice of a national, Medicare-like plan, my colleagues do not. . . But we were concerned that the ongoing health reform debate is beginning to show signs of fracture on the public plan issue, so in order to advance the process of developing bipartisan legislation and to move it forward, it’s time to find consensus here,” Daschle said.

“We’ve come too far and gained too much momentum for our efforts to fail over disagreements on one single issue,” he said.

In a blow to President Obama and many of his Democratic allies in the health care fight, the plan recommends that there be no federal public option, but rather state or regional public-sponsored networks that would compete with private health plans, according to the summary released today by the Bipartisan Policy Center.

The lame-o response from the WH:

“This group of extraordinarily experienced legislators agree with the President that health reform must be enacted this year because the status quo — skyrocketing health care costs, rising premiums, swelling deficits – is unsustainable,” said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

“With this report, they have demonstrated what can be achieved with bipartisan effort. The Bipartisan Policy Center has produced a significant report, and the White House applauds their efforts,” added Gibbs.

Now if that’s not the verbal equivalent of a pat on the head, I don’t know what is.

Prominent faithful supporters (mostly liberals) of healthcare reform that includes the “public option” are on record as being “worried” about whether or not the public option and other healthcare “reforms” (read: more government control) they wished for are indeed DOA. The big issue at this point is the overwhelming mega-trillion dollar price tag the CBO put on the plan earlier this week. Not only was that a buzz killer for liberal healthcare reform advocates, but the CBO’s estimate of a net decrease of in the number of people uninsured at around the 17,000,000 mark was also a heavy duty blast of cold water.

Not that any of this matters to $ grubbing Congressional “leaders” like Nancy Pelosi, who have attacked the CBO this week rather than address in detail the issues of the massive costs and loss in coverage for 17 mill. Americans:

“It’s always been a source, yes I will say frustration, for many of us in Congress that the CBO will always give you the worst case scenario on one initiative and never … any credit for anything that happens if you have early intervention, health care,” Pelosi said in her weekly news conference on Capitol Hill.

“If you have prevention, if you have wellness … you name any positive investment that we make, that we know reduces cost, brings money to the Treasury in the case of education but never scored positively by the CBO. Yes, it is frustrating,” she said.

She added, “I hope we will see them say, ‘This is what we see the cost of something. We have not accounted for the benefits’ because they don’t and they haven’t and it should not be inferred from what they do that they have.”

She’s insisting that there will still be a public option in the House version of the bill. The Senate is another matter altogether.

And here we were thinking at the beginning of the year that socialized healthcare was a done deal. What a pleasant surprise to see that maybe it’s not after all.

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