The predicted HopeChange™! backtracking has begun.
Public insurance plan not essential: Sebelius
The government-run health insurance option favored by President Barack Obama is not essential to a healthcare overhaul as long as the final measure boosts competition, a top U.S. health official said on Sunday.
...Democratic proposals in Congress for a government-run insurance option have sparked intense opposition from Republicans who argue it would unfairly compete with private plans and would cripple the insurance industry.
The government option has become a key focus of opposition charges that the overhaul, Obama's top domestic priority, would amount to a government takeover of healthcare.
Six members of the Senate Finance Committee -- three from each party -- have been negotiating a reform package that would feature member-controlled non-profit cooperatives instead of the government-run plan.
Translation for those not conversant with RealPolitik double-speak: Now that a massive public outcry has made it clear that a majority of the American public, particularly American seniors, are NOT buying the fairy-dust promises of the Obamessiah and are NOT willing to passively stand by and watch another trillion-dollar-plus pig-in-a-poke crammed through Congress with little or no debate or public scrutiny, the administration has decided that getting anything passed that they can call "health care reform" and claim credit for and save face with is more important than getting the left-liberal dream of completely-government-controlled health care snuck in the back door.
So they are moving to a fallback position, one that still encourages the erosion of the "progressive"-left-hated corporate for-profit health insurors through competition with non-profits, thus preserving some red meat to throw to the left-liberal base to maintain support for any eventual bill.
The "public option" that was the first-order key to sneaking a government-run single-payer system into control of American health care is standing at the curb, and the admin is standing behind it, waiting on that bus now coming up the block. The admin knows that there will be more chances later, but for right now, it's time to give something a well-timed shove and run away.
[Second-order prediction: If the admin can get sympathetic polling for the "non-profit co-ops" the next step will be to place same under some serious gov't regulation and oversight, with an eye to future nationalization and/or complete government control of same. That would be the giant-wooden-badger fallback plan.]