Public option: What's the plan?
Helen Redmond writes in Counterpunch (from PNHP, April 26, 2009):
At the Health Care for America Now (HCAN) and Citizen Action Illinois sponsored rally in Chicago last weekend, single-payer advocates confronted HCAN leadership and Democratic Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-Illinois) who instead of working to pass HR 676, John Conyers single-payer bill titled the United States National Health Insurance Act, are supporting the so called “public option.”
What the public option plan is, no one can exactly say. There are no concrete proposals spelling out what the plan would include, who could join it, how much it would cost, or how it would be funded. But the details don’t matter, they advocated for it anyway.
There's no there, there! Anybody who's advocating for public option is advocating for a marketing slogan. Period. Witness FDL:
Jane Hamsher writes a post titled The Pillars of a Robust* Public Option (now? We only knew what the pillars were today? WTF? Immediately, a commenter chimes in with a completely different set of principles, already developed elsewhere on FDL. Nice work, but they didn't know either? And immediately after that, another comment chimes in with a third set of principles. So, they didn't know what public option is either? WTF? I love Hamsher's whip tools, both in principle and for the technology, but I don't love the idea of whipping for public option without knowing what it is. Call me old-fashioned...
By contrast, single payer advocates know what single payer is: We have an already-crafted bill, HR676. We don't have to be deciding, on the fly, how to bring the mere wind of a marketing slogan down to the earth of policy proposals. And I've had a bellyful already of "broad principles" with no detail.
NOTE * "Robust" is one of those Versailles words you want to watch out for. Back in the day, when I was a high priced tech consultant, "robust" meant "in a big honkin three-ring-binder I can show to management." Empty linguistic calories, totally.
UPDATE Then again, perhaps there are some advantages to doing this on the fly. I just added a Sibelius prophylactic to the 4 HCAN't principles: #5. Single-payer ready, and it seems to have gotten a little traction. Interesting!
UPDATE As I just commented elsewhere -- hastily crafted legislation passed NOW NOW NOW -- what could go wrong?