Public Option Gets the Deep Six, Right on Schedule

So….the public option, as long predicted here (and everywhere else, in recent weeks) is down the drain. It really never had a chance, and pretty clearly was just a ploy to draw right wing fire.

It’s a play we’ve seen performed a thousand times, with different actors and a few adjustments to the script: Obama appears beaten, surrendering TO the the right wingers. Goes to Martha’s Vineyard. Conservatives claim victory. The Senate Finance committee reports out a token bill, maybe containing a co-op provision or maybe something akin to the federal employee health care plan. The House fights on and passes a stiffer measure. The bill goes to conference where the final deal is cut. The insurance industry, Big Pharma, doctors, and whackos on the right emerge smiling. Liberals say, Oh well, we gotta move ahead in slow motion. Something is better than nothing. (And please, people: We are NOT socialists.) Just think, we could have have had another four years of Bush-Cheney-McCain-Palin. Thank God for what we got. Hey, guys. It’s not a defeat; it’s a victory. Get with the program. Obama and the Congressional Democrats claim huge win.

As in the famous line from Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s The Leopard, “Everything must change so that everything can stay the same.”

Since the papers are full of the co-op bunk, I want to repeat what I wrote back in June:

The co-op scheme is a weak, tired, nearly meaningless idea that would represent no real alternative to business-as-usual in the health insurance industry. In the best-case scenario, which is far from guaranteed, the co-ops might have a less corporate governance structure than other insurers and receive federal subsidies for startup costs and more expansive coverage. In the worst case scenario, they would in effect be private insurance companies by another name. And at least some of the initial capital, in all likelihood, will come from the members. You can be sure all the Americans who are out of work and too poor to buy insurance will appreciate that—and with the lower subsidies in the Finance Committee’s draft bill, most of them will still be on their own.

You can read the rest–and weep–here.

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