Does Landrieu Not Know That All Her Demands Regarding The Public Option Have Already Been Addressed?

Several weeks ago Sen. Mary Landrieu claimed to be against the public option, which she described as “government-run, taxpayer subsidized.” Of course there is no truth behind her claim. The public option, as it has been proposed for months, would be funded through premiums, and would not get any special government funds beyond a startup loan. It appears no one ever told Landrieu because two weeks later she said:
"The public option, because of the moderates, and because of what I've been helping to do and other moderates, has been shaped, in our view, 100 percent better than when it started out," she said, adding,"it's already shaped to be a public option that is supported by premiums," before being whisked away into a vote.

This is absurd. Even the robust public option supported by progressives in the House and the strong public option championed by Jay Rockefeller in the Senate would have been supported by premiums. The only difference was that they would pay providers modified Medicare reimbursement rates. This nonexistent “change” has nothing to do with moderates. Today, the Wall Street Journal had a new gem from Landrieu:
"I don't favor a government-run national public option," Ms. Landrieu said in a recent interview. "I could be open to either a fallback or a public option that plays on the same playing field as private business. . . . Something like that I could maybe consider if it meant a deal at the end."

For roughly half a year, Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has been promoting what he labeled his “level playing field” public option. He called it that because (surprise!) it would compete on the same level playing field as private insurance companies. Schumer's Senate Finance Committee public option amendment was described thusly:
The new national level playing field public option must adhere to the same rules (actuarial reporting, community rating and guaranteed issue) as all other plans in the Exchange and must be self-sustaining with premiums and copayments covering claims. Like private plans, the ―level playing field public option would also be required to establish a reserve fund. Aside from covering some initial start-up costs, general revenues or annual appropriations may not support the ongoing operation of the plan.

The House Democrats adopted Schumer's idea of a “level playing field” public option. That is the public option that will be in the health care reform bill that should pass the House this weekend. I don't know if someone should tell Landrieu that the public option as structured already addresses all of her concerns, or if everyone should just stay quiet let her think she is winning a big victory for Team Conservadem.

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