“It doesn’t have much of a constituency beyond Conrad because it doesn’t please any critics of public plan on the right and doesn’t satisfy any of the ardent public plan advocates on the left,” said a Senate aide. “You don’t gain anything by putting it in the bill.”
Just because the co-ops idea is on its deathbed, it does not mean the prospect for a real public option has increase. Snowe's worthless trigger--that is designed to never be pulled--is seen by many in the Senate as a way to make the claim that they included a public option.
The aide said that most Democratic lawmakers would vote for a public option with a trigger before embracing co-ops. Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) supports the trigger plan, which would set up a government insurance program only if private insurance companies failed to meet certain standards.
The good news is that progressive grassroots pressure has made it almost impossible for Democrats to pass health care reform without a “public option.” That bad news is that Democrats in the Senate are looking for anything, regardless of how worthless, on which they can slap the label “public option":
At this point, Senate Democrats are signaling they could get behind just about anything they could plausibly call the public option — from a “trigger” that could kick in a public insurance plan later, to Delaware Sen. Tom Carper’s proposal to give states an option to create a government program.
The battle is now over the shape and viability of the public option. Will it be a real public option or a worthless fig leaf with a pretty label?