A PUBLIC HEALTH CARE OPTION: THE NEW ABORTION?
It's far from an exact analogy (we don't have a public health care option for most America and we do have somewhat legal, somewhat available abortion), but once again, the message, even from the seemingly sympathetic, seems to be: yeah, maybe this is a good thing, but it's just so icky and regrettable, isn't it? Doesn't it seem as if the ideal state would be having no abortions/public option at all?
Obama camp floats cooperative as alternative health-care option
With Republicans fighting the idea of a government-run health insurance plan, Obama administration officials said yesterday that they are open to a compromise: a cooperative program that would expand coverage with taxpayer money but without direct governmental control....
The concessions could be the smoothest way to deliver the bipartisan health-care legislation the administration seeks by its self-imposed August deadline, officials said....
Sen. Kent Conrad, the North Dakota Democrat who is chairman of the Budget Committee, has offered the co-op idea as a way to avoid a bruising and protracted political wrangle on Capitol Hill.
"It's far preferable to the government-run plan that has been discussed by the administration," said Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine). "We need to better understand how it would work. But it's certainly better than a Washington-run plan."
Obama's political team at the White House has seen such a compromise as an option, although publicly the administration remains in support of a government competitor to private insurance. But during appearances on Sunday news programs, the support seemed to waver....
Also see The Hill's story.
I know Obama and his team have been reading polls showing that most Americans are content with their current health plans; having a public option rather than single-payer does seem like a reasonable compromise (which Team Obama does still seem to be pressing for, albeit in a "wavering" way). But no one except the usual single-payer advocates (certainly no Obamaite or congressional Democratic leader) seems to want to say, "Government involvement in health care is good!" -- just as virtually everyone wants to talk about abortion as a horrible thing that's a necessary evil at best, rather than the right choice for a lot of women and girls.
When the arguments of the anti side are passionate and pure, and the pro side is sheepish, the anti side has the power. If no one will try to motivate the public to want -- really want -- a public option specifically, I fear it doesn't have a chance, because there'll be no widespread public demand for it.