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Obama White House "Mystified" By The "Left of the Left's" Commitment to Public Option

mass's picture

[Welcome, Glenn Greenwald readers! Of course, that the White House would insult the left over the vacuous Public Option Trojan Sparkle Pony, which career "progressives" were running a bait and switch operation to sell, while suppressing single payer, makes the meta almost overwhelming, doesn't it? --lambert]

The Obama administration is stunned by the angry reaction of liberal Democrats after Kathy Sebelius seemed to be walking away from demands of a public option. Apparently, the administration never intended the "public option" to be a major focus of their reform efforts.

Via the Washington Post:

[At] a time when the president had hoped to be selling middle-class voters on how insurance reforms would benefit them, the White House instead finds itself mired in a Democratic Party feud over an issue it never intended to spotlight.

"I don't understand why the left of the left has decided that this is their Waterloo," said a senior White House adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "We've gotten to this point where health care on the left is determined by the breadth of the public option. I don't understand how that has become the measure of whether what we achieve is health-care reform."

"It's a mystifying thing," he added. "We're forgetting why we are in this."

As the administration looks to move the debate back to private insurance reform, Obama will reach out to his most loyal supporters in a conference call hosted by Organizing for America Thursday where he is expected to argue against any line in the sands in terms of the public option:

He is likely to repeat what he and his top surrogates have said for months: that he will not "draw a line in the sand" about the inclusion of a public plan and that no one provision is a "deal breaker" as long as the final legislation embraces his broad principles for reform.

The White House appears to have been caught flat footed by the devotion on the left to the public option, an element of the emerging health insurance reform policy the President has been open to negotiation on since early spring.

The president has maneuvered gingerly around the issue of a public plan....He often argues that competition from a government plan -- without high executive salaries and the need to post profits -- could keep big insurance companies "honest."

[Obama] and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel have also signaled a willingness to consider other avenues. Addressing a joint session of Congress in February, the president made no mention of a public insurance plan.

At a White House summit in March, he said: "If there is a way of getting this done where we're driving down costs and people are getting health insurance at an affordable rate and have choice of doctor, have flexibility in terms of their plans, and we could do that entirely through the market, I'd be happy to do it that way."

Strategists were concerned that reform centered on a public option would leave Democrats open to attacks of socialism:

"We were always concerned about leading with our glass jaw," he said. "We felt we probably shouldn't make health-care reform be about this because it falls so easily into the socialized medicine, big-government theme."


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Submitted by lambert on

We've got the actual, Big League Democratic strategerists throwing us under the bus already, and we've got the wannabe, Triple-A Democratic strategerists saddling us with their pissant publiic option Rube Goldberg-esque contraption.

And all the strategerists happily collaborated, and are still collaborating, to freeze out the only solution that can be demonstrated to work -- Medicare for All -- exactly because it does work. Well done, all.

Hookfan's picture
Submitted by Hookfan on

They never intended a real public option. Hmmm. . . how then mr. President do you propose to "keep insurance companies honest"? By forcing all of us to purchase premiums whose rate of inflation has no controls? By making deals with big Pharma to not negotiate for the best drug prices?
So you grant corporate welfare to big insurance through a tax up to 15% of our income to start, with no controls over future increases in premiums, and we get to avoid being called names? Sounds like a great deal!

ElizabethF's picture
Submitted by ElizabethF on

Because they are either relationally challenged or just plain clueless about politics.

I mean, seriously...can you believe they are "mystified"? First of all they call those wanting the option the "left of the left". Add to that, they won't even breathe single payer probably because they never even considered it anyway.

Note to anonymous WH advisors: Just stop! Every time lately, that you open your mouths to offer an opinion, you make it worse.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

When we substituted a placebo for the real deal, we didn't realize people would become addicted to the placebo.

gqmartinez's picture
Submitted by gqmartinez on

After the "left of the left" pretty much remained silent when those ads popped up, of course the WH is surprised that people want a "public option". Of course, I'm sure the great Pibber intellectuals will write 10,000 word essays on the most important aspect of the public option: not having one might cost *them* the white house in 2012.