The plan starts with a trigger:
In states where private insurers fail to offer affordable coverage, Carper said the alternative would permit them to set up a non-profit board, likely appointed by the president, to offer insurance.
"That kind of approach might come close to hitting a sweet spot for a lot of people," said Carper, noting the approach "addresses concerns about government-owned, government-run."
So, Carper's idea is to take Olympia Snowe's worthless trigger idea (which already should have 60 votes if no liberal Democratic senators bolt), and weaken it further for no reason. Instead of it being a trigger for a public option, it would be a trigger to set up a state-based non-profit company with zero government oversight:
A Senate aide said the plan, still being worked out, would initially be run by the government but that its leadership would later be turned over to a non-governmental entity.
Carper is "trying to put something together that would actually have some sort of point at which the government is not responsible [and an] organization, likely a nonprofit of sorts" takes over, the aide said.
Does that sound familiar to anyone? It should because that is nearly identical to Conrad's co-ops idea, which the CBO already labeled as worthless. Conrad's idea was for the government to help set up state-based, non-profit, non-government entities to sell health insurance. Except, Conrad's co-ops would be available right away without a trigger. Olympia Snowe voted for Conrad's co-ops idea in committee, so it should also be able to get 60 votes if liberal senators stay on board.
What Carper did was take the two worst aspects of the two most worthless ideas (a trigger and zero government oversight), and combine them into one super-awful proposal. The entity created is not national, would not be large enough to negotiate low rates, would not be available on day one, and would not answer to Congress. Carper has created a "trigger for co-ops" proposal in an attempt to get 60 votes, but, not only would the idea do nothing to help control costs, but it needlessly weakens two worthless ideas Snowe already supports.
Ah, but here's the real kicker:
The Democratic aide said staffers have tried to keep Carper's alternative quiet due to concerns that publicity could draw attacks from liberal activists, which could complicate efforts to line up support from the full Democratic caucus.
This is what makes Carper's “Plan B” a double assault on the American people and the Democratic base. It is a completely worthless idea that will do nothing to keep the private insurance companies honest or bring down cost. It is nothing more than a fig leaf to pretend that they did not completely kill the public option, which is what Carper's proposal would do.
Secondly, it is an assault on the American democratic tradition of transparency and open debate. This is the kind of secret, backroom dealing that Obama campaigned against. This is a personal slight against me as a health care policy writer, it is an assault against the blogger community as a whole, it is a secret attack on the supporters of a public option, and is really an offense to the entire country. Carper knows his Plan B is a worthless proposal that could never withstand true scrutiny by experts. That is why he is purposely not letting the American people know what it is, so they can't debate its merits (or lack thereof) until it is too late. Congratulations Carper, you outdid yourself with this new, new, new “alternative.”