Obama: Public option is "important" and btw, no one would be forced to take it | Citizen | Indy Week
INDY Week columnist Bob Geary's Raleigh news & politics blog

Archives | RSS

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Obama: Public option is "important" and btw, no one would be forced to take it

Posted by on Thu, Aug 20, 2009 at 4:10 PM

Probably the biggest problem with keeping the "public option" as part of health care reform is that people don't know what "public option" means. Is it an "option" that would be available to folks who can't get insurance any other way? I can imagine that many people think that's exactly what it would be -- but it isn't. Under all of the proposals under serious consideration in Congress, most folks who have insurance won't have access to the public option at all, let alone be left with it as their only option. But even for those with no insurance, the public option would be one choice available to them among many others -- and all of the other choices would be from private insurers.

In other words, the public option -- when it's available -- would always be a choice to be taken or not. No one would be forced to use it.

There's a Survey USA poll out today indicating that when the "public option" is described as a choice, 77 percent of Americans support it. When the word choice is omitted from the description, however, as it was in last week's NBC poll, support for the public option drops below 50 percent. Huffington Post has a good writeup on the two.

President Obama held a health care forum this afternoon with his Organizing for America troops to talk about -- per OFA's introduction -- "our strategy and message going forward." It came as the debate raged among his supporters about whether Obama is committed to the public option and will fight for it as a critical part of reform; or, alternatively, has given up on it and is prepared to settle for a reform bill without it. There's really no telling about that, I guess -- and Obama didn't address that question directly -- though I have to say that if he's fighting for it, he's been doing it one-handed.

click to enlarge unknown.jpg
Today, though, Obama led with the public option in his explanation of reform, called it "important" and "a good idea," and emphasized repeatedly that it is "a choice," "just one option," and "purely voluntary" -- i.e., nobody is going to be forced into it or left with it as their only option.

It's about time.

Just as reform's opponents managed to turn voluntary end-of-life consultations with a doctor into "death panels," a ridiculous mis-characterization that  the White House is finally managing to turn back on them, the opponents have managed to depict the public option as some sort of government takeover of health care. That's not true either, but until just now, I haven't heard the President really push back. If he does, he just might find that most Americans think -- as he says he does -- that a public option makes excellent sense and would, indeed, be an "important" component of health care reform.

Tags: ,

Pin It


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Citizen

Twitter Activity


You know...to those who dislike the gaming rooms..whether you have played in one or not...it is your chose to play …

by ThisWorld on Sweepstakes gambling on the way out in NC? (Citizen)

Of course you can't give airtime to fringe conspiracy theorists, flat earthers, etc! People who can take a voluntary blessing …

by Michael Czeiszperger on In Raleigh: Hitler used ovens, Obama will use hospice to kill people like me. (Citizen)

Most Read

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

© 2016 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation