The Ghost of Nominees Past

Affordable, portable healthcare has been an issue in American politics since long before the 1990’s. Unfortunately, little, if anything has been done in that time to ensure that Americans have access to insurance coverage, despite a great deal of support for reform. Today NBC News and The Wall Street Journal published a poll stating that 76% of Americans polled support a “Public Option”.

In this space we’ve covered The Public Option and a Trigger mechanism for the Public Option proposed by conservative Democrats as a hedge against real reform favored my the majority of Americans.

While the debate continues in Congress, and on the airwaves, a bipartisan group of former Senators have come together to promote a plan of their own.

As part of the plan, former HHS nominee Tom Daschle argues against the Public Option saying

“We’ve come too far and gained too much momentum for our efforts to fail over disagreement on one single issue,”


The plan endorsed by Daschle would give states the duty of establishing “public options”. This may be favored by Republicans, but it creates a serious problem in establishing nationwide portability. Further, as we have seen here in Tennessee, as budgets get tighter, state funds for such programs dwindle and the working poor suffer. Finally, the plan also makes any savings that would come from establishing a nationwide risk pool and throws them out the window.

In short, this is a stupid idea that will likely result in no real savings, or expanded coverage for the 47+ million uninsured, who, like myself, who cannot afford insurance due to sheer cost or pre-existing conditions.

I’ve always liked Senator Daschle. I feel he brings a lot of knowledge and experience to this debate, and I was hopeful about the possibility of true healthcare reform when President Obama nominated him to HHS. In light of his current position, I find myself questioning his motives. You may remember that in the two years before he was nominated he banked some $200,000 from the healthcare industry. I don’t want to sully the man’s reputation, but it raises serious questions about his motivation and intentions.

In the end, there is overwhelming public support for a “Public Option”. If our elected officials in DC are too scared to pass something that has the support of 76% of Americans, they need to get their butts spanked by their constituents. We have the political will to get this passed, the question is, “Will they do what’s right or what’s easy?”. Right now they’re leaning toward the easy.

Most importantly, we can’t let the ghost of a past nominee derail the reform that we, the people are in favor of.

Do what’s right, pass the “Public Option” or suffer the ire of your constituents. This reform is way overdue.

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