Was this the goal all along?
Now that Obamacare co-ops are collapsing and Bernie Sanders has spent months revving up Democratic Primary voters on the idea of “free” healthcare, Obama is suddenly open to the idea of a public option in Obamacare.
Some might think this was the goal all along.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
President Obama Pushes for ‘Public Option’ in Affordable Care Act
President Barack Obama, reviewing his signature health law six years into its implementation, is suggesting Congress and his White House successor add a government-run, or public, insurance option to the Affordable Care Act and increase federal financial assistance for people to buy coverage.
Writing as Barack Obama, J.D., in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the president lauded the health-care overhaul and excoriated its opponents, arguing the law has sharply reduced the number of uninsured in the U.S. and improved coverage for those who had it.
“The Affordable Care Act is the most important health care legislation enacted in the United States since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965,” he wrote. “Although partisanship and special interest opposition remain, experience with the Affordable Care Act demonstrates that positive change is achievable on some of the nation’s most complex challenges.”
The article appeared as a “special communication” in which he offered evidence, findings and a description of their relevance. Among its most striking sections were those in which he acknowledged the law’s shortcomings and advocated responses to them. In his call for a public option, he noted the existence of parts of the country with limited insurance competition, where customers may have no choice but to swallow high premiums.
The piece reflects the president’s efforts to solidify the legacy of his signature law in his last year in office, especially as it comes under attack from Republicans who have vowed to repeal it.
Once again, the left is playing the long game. Opposition to Obamacare was fierce when it was still being debated and Democrats knew they couldn’t get it passed with a public option.
Now, several years later, may Americans have already grown accustomed to the law so the time is ripe to take the next step towards government run healthcare.
The Daily Signal offers more analysis:
What’s Behind Obama’s Obsession With the Public Option
President Barack Obama is calling for the resurrection of his failed “public option” ( a “Medicare-like” plan) to compete directly against private health plans in his government-run health insurance exchanges.
“The public plan did not make it into the final legislation,” the president writes in the Journal of the American Medical Association. “Now, based on the experience with the ACA [Affordable Care Act], I think Congress should revisit a public plan to compete alongside private insurers in areas of the country where competition is limited. Adding a public plan in such areas would strengthen the Marketplace approach, giving consumers more affordable options while also creating savings for the federal government.”
The president’s latest appeal for congressional creation of a “public option” is no more convincing today than it was when he originally proposed it. It was included in the very first legislative version of Obamacare in 2009, and by 2010 it became a standardized feature of leftist health policy in Congress.
The provision was, however, unable to secure enough congressional Democratic support. The final version of Obamacare was enacted without the provision. The national health law eventually passed on a narrowly partisan basis, in the teeth of popular opposition, and further polarized the country.
But there’s a reason Obama is circling back to the public option, even though he couldn’t get it through Congress.
If a public option became part of government-run health, the Health and Human Services secretary would establish such a plan, set its benefits, and fix its payment rates.
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