In the House Education and Labor Committee an amendment was added to health care reform that would remove potential legal impediments preventing individual states from creating their own single payer systems. The amendment was passed with bipartisan support.
While I'm confident that the state single payer amendment will eventually be stripped from health care reform, it does produce an interesting question. Would the state single payer amendment be an acceptable bipartisan compromise over the issue of a public plan?
The idea would be appealing to the most liberal Democrats. A majority of the most dedicated advocates for a strong public option, support or would even prefer a single payer system. There is also a chance that a handful of liberal states could pass a single payer bill.
The idea might also be appealing for several reasons to Republican states rights advocates. Primarily it would kill the public plan and allow them to declare victory in that fight. Republicans might also believe that they will be able to stop any single payer bill on the state level or later when they are back in power in Washington. It would allow them to shift the tough decision and political battle to someone else. Politicians never like making tough decisions.
I don't think we will even see this deal proposed, and that is unfortunate. In many ways it is the best possible compromise. It is a deal where both sides can walk way declaring victory.