D-Day is tired of the kabuki dance of leaking the end of the public option then denying it publicly, the latest incarnation coming from the Senate Majority Leader’s office:
Harry Reid pulled the yo-yo trick today. First some anonymous staffers were quoted in the NYT that the Majority Leader’s merged bill that will go to the Senate floor would not include a public insurance option. Then Reid’s spokesman denied it to Greg Sargent.
This sort of thing, hinting at dropping the public option then walking it back, has happened multiple times in the course of the debate. But it only tells us what the White House and Senate leadership have said publicly: they like the public option, but it’s not essential for them to support a bill.
Today’s leak only said the version of the bill Reid produces, by combining the health committee and Finance committee bills, would not include the public option, while leaders expect “liberals would push amendments to add it on the Senate floor.” The issue will ultimately be determined on the floor, not the back room.
To put it another way: they may not be committed to a public option, but the fix isn’t in either.
Is it lame that there is an extra burden on progressives to gin up the pressure to get a public option in the final bill, despite the fact that the idea continues to weather right-wing attacks and poll strongly?
Sure. But no one said politics was easy, fun or fair.
The public option yo-yo is frustrating. It makes our job harder. But it does not make it impossible. Having respected senior senators like Jay Rockefeller and Chuck Schumer leading the fight for a public option will ensure the issue gets a real hearing on the floor, which is enough of an opportunity for a strong grassroots push to the make the difference.
Health Care For America Now offers a simple way to contact your Senators and demand a public option before tomorrow’s vote. It’s simple and it’s critical if we are to win.
Because we sure ain’t winning in the back room.