Was the nonprofit cooperative health plan Obama’s exit strategy all along?
August 17, 2009
Bush allowed us to invade Iraq without an exit strategy. Could Obama have been just as reckless in proposing a public option health plan to compete with private insurance? A really savvy politician would have known this could have been shot down by the right wing all along and would have had the cooperative plan as an "exit strategy".
Obama can never please the far right, but now there’s a hue and cry among liberals that Obama is selling them out. On the far left even the public option was unacceptable to many who wanted to have true socialized medicine like the United Kingdom and Canada.
Less partisan moderates just wanted health care reform and didn’t get particularly stuck on the details. Many of them see the prospect of this dimming and suggest it means Obama is failing as a president and about to renege on a major campaign promise.
I’m not jumping to conclusions.
If Obama is as astute a politician as he’s been made out to be he would have learned from Clinton’s (really "the Clintons") failed attempt at health care reform.
Almost everything in politics is predictable beforehand. There are rare exceptions like an entire election turning on a Supreme Court decision or Sarah Palin running for vice president. This isn’t the case of how the health care debate has turned out and how it is influencing Democrats. It should have been anticipated by Obama’s health care reform team.
Obama knew he couldn’t propose a vast overhaul of the health care system which would relegate private companies to the insurers of the well-to-do. The right wing would have had a field day screaming about how he was destroying America and comparing him to everyone from Stalin to Voldemort.
I’m not as sure as some people are that he is viewing the current developments as a defeat, and I am quite certain the negative reaction doesn’t surprise him.
The language being used by television commentators is that he’s "backing off his insistence on a public option" when in fact he’s always said that he wanted to make sure there’s choice and competition with the private companies.
I think Obama knew all along that there would be a battle royal against any significant health care reform. I believe he had his advisors put together an exit strategy (from the public option) which we are now learning about.
If properly designed a cooperative alternative to private insurance could for all extents and purposes look different but work the same as a public option.
Howard Dean (on MSNBC’s Morning Joe), was adamant in his insistence on having a public option. He likened the cooperative plan to Blue Cross before it became private.
That’s not a fair comparison since a new plan presumably would by law be prohibited from going private. Executive salaries could be capped. I assume coverage of existing conditions would be mandated. I would expect the private companies methods of delaying needed treatment would be eliminated.
A properly regulated health cooperative could be as effective in providing quality health care to all at a reduced cost as a government controlled program.
I never thought Obama was going to be a miracle worker. He’s "only" the president, not the king.
What we may be about to see is whether he’s just another politician or whether he’s the consummate politician of our times.
I’m not about to sell him short.