Nudging Obama

Formerly "Obama Watch" Keeping the promise of change

To Trigger a Single-payer Public Option: Turning Lemonade to Battery Acid

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Progressive Democrats of America - Mobilizing the Progressive Vote

To Trigger a Single-payer Public Option

By Ted Rall
September 12, 2009, Atlanta, GA

Published by Yahoo News.

A poll says that 67 percent of Americans don’t understand Obama’s healthcare plan. I’m one of them.

It’s not because I don’t pay attention. I’m a news junkie. Could it be that I’m an idiot? If my insurer offered psychiatric coverage I could afford to find out.

I’m pretty sure, though, that my friends are smart. I asked my publisher, who runs the oldest publisher of graphic novels in the U.S., whether he understood what Obama’s “public option” was. He didn’t. I asked a teacher, who earned a masters from an Ivy League school. She didn’t either. I asked a bunch of political cartoonists. Neither did they. <!– [more] –>

Obama’s attempt to reform healthcare is all but dead; his polls are dropping. How did Obama turn lemonade into battery acid? Obama PR flack David Alexrod tries to explain that “to make choices is to make some unhappy.” GOP strategist Charles Black counters that the president’s popularity and “good will” doesn’t equate to support for “liberal policies.”

I think they’re both wrong. The collapse of ObamaCare is rooted in the problem described by the cognitive linguist George Lakoff: liberals do a crappy job of communicating to the public.

Speaking of which: what is/was this mysterious “public option”?

On the left, The Nation magazine says it’s “designed around not making people change their healthcare if they like what they have.” OK, so that’s what it’s not. What is it? “Instead, there will be rules that insurance companies have to follow to provide better care, and a health insurance exchange, including a public option, for people who don’t have employer-provided care.”

A public option is a public option is a public option. How helpful.

I rely on words to make a living. I’ve published 14 books. Some have even sold well. “Health insurance exchange”? WTF?

You know what I think? I think this is like that fairy tale about the emperor’s new clothes. I think The Nation doesn’t know what the “public option” is any more than the rest of us. They’re just afraid to admit it.

On the right, The National Review says it’s “a government-run insurance plan that will compete with private insurers.” Compete how?

For a guy reputed to have a way with words, Obama isn’t adding any clarity.


Dems say the “trigger” isn’t a death panel. Instead, private insurance companies would have to make their services cheaper within a certain number of years (say, five). If costs stayed high, the U.S. government would then create a…public option. (Unless Congress, feeding at the trough of insurance company lobbyist money, was persuaded to amend the law between now and then.)

“This is the best shot we’ve got for getting a public option,” a House Democratic adviser told UPI. “It’s better than nothing.”

Actually, it’s exactly the same as nothing. Except that nothing sounds better.

I understand “nothing.”


Written by bearmarketnews

September 13, 2009 at 2:12 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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