The public option, a health care reform provision for a government-run insurance option, has been beleaguered
and at apparent risk
of not making it
through the Senate. But that could change as Obama quietly leads "an
intensifying behind-the-scenes campaign to get divided Senate Democrats to take up some version of the idea in the weeks just ahead," the Chicago Tribune reports
. Surprisingly, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a figure little loved
by the left, is emerging as perhaps the White House's closest ally. Can
Obama succeed in privately shifting the Senate to secure a public
- Will Obama Finally Deliver? Steve Benen praises Democratic leaders for finally getting serious. "At this point, I was more or less expecting Democratic leaders to
start lowering expectations, and preparing the party base for a letdown
on the public option," he writes. "Instead, most of the rhetoric seems to be
pointing in the other direction, and the reported efforts of the
leadership and the White House is no doubt contributing to the
Democratic centrists who now seem less willing to break ranks.
But it's still wise to temper one's enthusiasm. For one thing, the
distance between here and the finish line is still pretty long."
- Moderate Dems Cede to Obama Greg Sargent explains
why moderate Democrats, once the biggest hurdle to a public option, may
be easing resistance. "With the public option still polling well, no
Dems want to be blamed
for its demise, and Senate Dems -- mindful that they'll take it on the
chin if it's not included -- are handing some responsibility to the
White House to signal the way forward," he writes. "So Senate Dems are
saying to Obama: 'Tell us what to do. It's your call.'"
- Harry Reid Taking Charge Greg Sargent notes
that Sen. Reid, typically reticent, is leading the Senate push. "Reid
is increasingly attaching himself to the notion that the public
option will survive and taking direct responsibility for its
inclusion." Sargent adds, "In a curious twist, Harry Reid
is more heavily identified than the White House is right now with the
push for the public option. While Reid is publicly insisting that some form of it will survive, Robert Gibbs couldn't bring himself to say at yesterday's press briefing that the administration is pushing for its inclusion."
- Senate Shouldn't Add Public Option--Yet Igor Volsky argues
that Reid's campaign to include a public option in the Senate's health
care bill will actually make the public option tougher to get. "The
public plan has become a political wedge issue. Republicans have
staked their entire opposition to reform on the public plan,
effectively shutting out any meaningful discussion about affordability
or insurance regulations." If the Senate debates a reform bill with a
public option, it will likely be weakened substantially. But waiting to
add it until conference--when the House and Senate come together to
vote on a final bill--would allow Democrats to introduce a stronger
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