Public Option vs. Bipartisanship

Great post from Greg Sargent.  Apparently, for pretty much the first time, a polling organization has framed the bipartisanship vs. public option choice as it actually exists in the real world.  Sargent explains:

Specifically: A majority wants a Dem-only bill rather than a bipartisan one if
the Dem-only one includes a public insurance option and the bipartisan
one doesn’t. A majority of Independents wants the same. From the internals:

Which of these would you prefer –- (a plan that includes
some form of government-sponsored health insurance for people who can’t
get affordable private insurance, but is approved without support from
Republicans in Congress); or

(a plan that is approved with support from Republicans in Congress,
but does not include any form of government-sponsored health insurance
for people who can’t get affordable private insurance)?

Prefer government-sponsored insurance: 51%

Prefer Republican support: 37%

This is the first time a major news org has asked the question this way — Research 2000 did it once — and I like to pretend it was inspired by my ranting about this. By the way, 52 percent of indys want the partisan bill with the public option.

Again: Other public polls have offered respondents a straight choice
— do they want a partisan bill or a bipartisan one — without explaining
that winning over GOP support has actual policy consequences for the final bill that they might not like.

When this is explained clearly — and the WaPo framing is a
far more accurate depiction of the choice the public and lawmakers face
— a majority wants the partisan, Dem-only bill with the public option.
Indeed, a majority wants the public option more than they want
bipartisanship for its own sake. Okay?

There does seem to be genuine momentum for the public option and this can only help.  My best guess is that there will be some sort of trigger or opt-out provision, but I'm cautiously optimistic that, oh, maybe in a decade or so, I'll be able to drop BCBS for a more efficient government plan.


About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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