Back when Obamacare was just a threat in the form of legislation, it contained a provision called “the public option.” The idea was that anyone seeking health care insurance would be able to opt for a government run, single-payer system similar to what prevails in Canada and Great Britain. The public option never made it into the final product because it was a change too far. Most people believed, correctly, that the option was a ploy to cause private insurance to wither and die.
Now Hillary Clinton has revived the public option as part of her reform of the health care reform law. No real reason exists for a second look at the idea except that Bernie Sanders’ proposal to scrap private health care for a full-blown government run scheme is proving to be popular with Democratic voters. Indeed, some young liberals, who came of age after the fall of the Soviet Union, don’t think that socialism is such a bad idea after all.
Interestingly enough, Clinton’s strategy would not be to try to pass the public option through Congress, a nonstarter under any scenario. Instead she promises to work with state governors to establish a public option in each state. The ploy is quite smart when you think of it. Both Clinton and Sanders knows that the latter’s beloved Vermont, one of the most leftist states in the Union, toyed with the idea of establishing a Canadian-style health care system and gave it up because it would cost too much.
President Hillary Clinton has an out. When she goes to the states and suggest working with them, most of them are likely to tell her where to get off. If Republican governors were adverse to expanding Medicaid under Obamacare, they will be doubly hostile to allowing the socialized medicine’s nose in the tent. Then the second President Clinton will make a speech with a pained expression about how all of those Republican obstructionists are standing in the way of people getting their health care the same way they deal with the DMV.