From The American Prospect:
The potential death of the public option has raised considerable anger on the liberal side of the spectrum. However, while an important element of the health reform plan, it's still only an element, and I think it's become something more than just a policy idea. It's become the Alamo: a symbol of liberal resistance to the outsize influence being exercised by a few moderate senators whose last priority seems to be making sure that we make sure everyone who needs health care coverage gets it.
But as Paul Begala pointed out last week, social security was hardly ideal progressive legislation when it was first passed, constructed as it was specifically to exclude black people and women from benefits. Matthew Yglesias, I think, makes the relevant point, that enough of the important reforms, expansion of Medicaid, restrictions on insurance companies, and a health insurance exchange, remain in the bill to make killing it not worthwhile. Furthermore:
One thing I wonder about is this. Given that adding a robust public option into the mix would reduce costs, if you set up a system without a public option wouldn’t you be able to add the public option in later years as an uncontroversial application of the reconciliation process? It seems to me that doing so would count as a 100 percent legitimate deficit reduction play. The public option concept also polls substantially better than does health reform as a whole. Under the circumstances, the odds for securing 50 senate votes for adding one strike me as pretty good.
For all the crowing on the right about the public option, it's really not about that. It's about the bill. They're trying to kill the bill. If the bill passes, it can be improved. If it doesn't pass, it will be another generation without health care reform, another generation of endless money spent on a system where people suffer and go broke because they get sick.
What say you? Is compromising now the key to future success?