The Washington Post front page blares today: “Prospects for Public Option Dim in Senate.” Don’t believe it. Yes, the Senate Finance Committee did vote down two amendments that each would have added a government-run insurance plan to the committee’s health care bill. But two key Democratic Senators who voted against Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s (D-WV) public plan, Sens. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Tom Carper (D-DE), voted for Sen. Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) version.
According to an independent analysis of Senate Democrat public statements on the public option, that raises the number of Democrats on record supporting a public option from 47 to 49. Moreover, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), chairmen of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, told the liberal “Bill Press Radio Show” yesterday that Democrats “comfortably” have the remaining votes to reach 51 and pass a public plan once the debate moves to the House floor.
But what about Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus’ (D-MT) claim yesterday that, “No one has been able to show me how we can count up to 60 votes with a public option.” That may be true, but it is also irrelevant. The question is not whether Democrats can muster 60 votes to pass Obamacare; they only need 51 votes to do that. The only time the number 60 will be relevant is when the Senate votes on whether to end debate and vote on the final bill. This is a separate question. We can see Senators from red states like Ben Nelson (D-NE), Blanch Lincoln (D-AR), and Kent Conrad (D-ND) voting against an amendment creating a public option. But voting with Republicans against their party and against their President to support a Republican filibuster? That would take a lot of courage. It would guarantee that these Democrats would face fierce opposition from their leftist bases back home. Just ask the left’s new whip for the public option, Michael Moore. Speaking to women’s groups and unions in Washington, DC, yesterday, Moore warned:
To the Democrats in Congress who don’t quite get it: I want to offer a personal pledge. I – and a lot of other people – have every intention of removing you from Congress in the next election if you stand in the way of health care legislation that the people want. That is not a hollow or idle threat. We will come to your district and we will work against you, first in the primary and, if we have to, in the general election.
Moore is, of course, the perfect spokesman for the public option. He is in Washington promoting his new film “Capitalism: A Love Story” in which Moore argues that “Capitalism is an evil, and you can’t regulate evil.” A more succinct summation of theory behind the public option does not exist. While supporters of the plan, including the White House, insist that the purpose of the public option is to bring “choice and competition” to the health care, nothing could be further from the truth. As Reps. Barney Frank (D-MA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Anthony Weiner (D-NY) Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein, and Noble Prize winning New York Times columnist Paul Krugman have all candidly admitted, the public option is nothing more than a Trojan horse for a single-payer, government-run health care system. Moore even told Rolling Stone magazine this summer:
If a true public option is enacted — and Obama knows this — it will eventually bring about a single payer system, because the profit-making insurance companies won’t be able to compete with a government run plan and make the profits they want to make.
So just how close are we to being inflicted with the Obama/Moore dream of anti-capitalist, competition-free, government-run health care? Closer than many realize. Multiple sources on the Hill have told The Foundry that as early as next week, the Senate could be debating Obamacare. Senate Majority Leader Reid has stated an intention to take the HELP Committee product and merge it with the Senate Finance Committee markup that is expected to be over by this Thursday or Friday. Their plan is to proceed to a House passed non-health care bill to provide a shell of legislation to give Obamacare a ride to the House and then straight to the President’s desk.