Is It Better For The Public Option For Reid To Leave It Out?

Bill Scher

Over at The Wonk Room, Igor Volsky, after recalling how conservatives successfully killed health care reform on the Senate floor in 1994, makes the counter-intuitive argument that the public option stands of better chance of passing if Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid leaves it out of the bill he brings to the Senate floor,

Excluding the public option from the Senate bill could broaden the health care debate. Republicans will complain that they need assurances that a public option won’t be added in during conference. They’ll spend more energy questioning the constitutionality of the individual mandate, the wisdom of eliminating the overpayments to private insurers participating in Medicare Advantage, rationing abortions to women, and ensuring that legal immigrants don’t have access to care.

But these issues lack the broad appeal of the party’s government take-over theme; they force the party to play to its right wing base. By voting against the final bill, conservatives will register their opposition to a very sensible, moderate, package of reforms. [The public option] will remain intact, away from reformers who seek to transform it into a co-op or a “network” of state-based public plans.

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