Here’s the latest compromise being floated for health care, Dems Discussing Public Option With Opt-Out Clause: The Silver Bullet? Here are the details of how that might work.
Senate Democrats have begun discussions on a compromise approach to health care reform that would establish a robust, national public option for insurance coverage but give individual states the right to opt out of the program.
The proposal is envisioned as a means of getting the necessary support from progressive members of the Democratic Caucus — who have insisted that a government-run insurance option remain in the bill — and conservative Democrats who are worried about what a public plan would mean for insurers in their states.
How such a system would work is still being debated, according to those with knowledge of the proposal. But theoretically, the “opt-out” approach would start with everyone having access to a public plan. What kind of public plan isn’t yet clear. States would then have the right to vote — either by referendum, legislature, or simply a gubernatorial decree — to make the option unavailable in their health care exchanges.
For conservative Democrats — especially those from states with major private health insurance industry interests — this concession could be key, allowing them to punt a vote on a public plan to local governments. For progressives, it would not be the hardest pill to swallow.
EOW thinks that would really shake things up in Texas.
In Texas, right now, gubernatorial decree means Texas does not get a public option. But depending on when and how the decision is to be made, let’s say after the 2009 election, it makes health care a HUGE issue in the Texas gubernatorial race. Which side would the candidates take and how does that play in the GOP primary. Obviously the Democratic candidates would be for allowing Texans choice in health care. More than likely the GOP candidates won’t.
And if it’s by a legislative vote, Wow!! Every House and Senate race is now a referendum on health care. And if it’s a referendum – public vote – that means there will be a whole campaign in Texas just about health care. This could be a huge game changer in Texas.
I’m sure there’s more nuances to this than what’s posted here, but it sure presents an interesting set of circumstances and potential scenarios to speculate about.
[UPDATE]: Found this from Nate Silver, Opt Me Out of Public Option Purism.
If the public option is indeed popular — and the preponderance of public polling suggests that it is — we should expect the solid majority of states to elect to retain it. Perhaps some Republican governors or legislatures would seek to override the popular will in their states — but they would do so at their own peril (and at Democrats’ gain).