IF YOU LIKE THE RED-BLUE ELECTORAL MAP, YOU'LL LOVE THE OPT-OUT MAP
Like Howard Dean, if I were in the Senate I'd vote for a bill that has a serious public option but also allows states to opt out, even though it's a less-than-ideal compromise "If this is what it takes to get 60 votes I say go for it," Dean says. Exactly.
However, I don't agree with Steve Benen:
I can't help but wonder exactly how many states would go through with the opt-out. When the stimulus debate was underway, plenty of right-wing governors said they had no intention of accepting the recovery funds. They changed their minds when partisan spite was overwhelmed by policy necessity.
That's a point aimai was making earlier today. But I see a big difference.
A lot of the stimulus was used to close state and local budget gaps that politicians simply had to close; it kept workers from being fired and shortfalls from getting worse. Some was put into public works projects. That's stuff -- you know, bacon. Politicians like be able to say they brought the bacon home to their constituents. This ought to be seen as bacon, but I'm not sure it will be in quite the same way.
Plus, no big business interest loses when federal money goes to states and cities. That's not the case with a public option.
It's even easier to imagine some states opting out, and then opting back in when they see other states benefiting from the public-private competition.
Well, maybe down the line. But for now, if this compromise becomes law, you're going to see Big Insurance and "socialism!!!"-averse tea party types banding together to fight a public plan in red (or reddish) states. The Tenth Amendment folks are going to be in there, too. It's not a reason to reject this compromise (if it's the only way to get reform done), but it's not going to end the fighting -- not by a long shot.