I actually don’t believe this is correct. I think reporters spend a lot of time hearing what they want to hear and creating the narrative they’d like to see play out.
However, were it to be true, abandoning the public health insurance option for the sake of bipartisan “agreement” would be a really really really bad idea, and as Richard explains in his most recent blog post, Obama would lose his base:
If scuttling the public option won’t quiet the right, it will definitely quiet the left. And that would be disastrous to the prospects of Democrats passing legislation this fall. Giving people an alternative to the private health insurance industry is the one issue that highly motivates progressives. Over and over again at Health Care for America Now, it is what our tens of thousands of activists — from grassroots community people to high-dollar Democratic donors — want to talk about. For them it has become the measure of whether health reform is about real change or just a cosmetic lift to a broken system.
It’s very important to recognize why it’s that measure though. The public health insurance option is the only way we will be able to put some real pressure on the private health insurance industry. If we just regulate without giving insurance companies competition, they will keep on doing what they do now. None of the real bad practices will go away.
And co-ops are a joke. They would be too small to do what a strong, national public option could accomplish and are a poorly veiled strategy to kill off substantial competition. For what reason? Some strange ideological objection to the government working for the people?
Insurance lobbyists are having an effect. And it’s despicable. Some lawmakers are more concerned about the health of corporations’ bottom lines than the health of their constituents and their families.
That’s what’s at stake. It’s that simple.