Tuesday, October 27, 2009

As Obama Cools to Senate's Public Option Plan, Progressives Target Him in New Ad

TowleRoad.com: Obama's apparent preference for a "trigger" option in health care reform rather than the more progressive option with a state opt-out clause has Senate Democrats bewildered and left fighting for the most fundamental health care reform the nation has seen in decades on their own.

HuffPost: "President Barack Obama is actively discouraging Senate Democrats in their effort to include a public insurance option with a state opt-out clause as part of health care reform. In its place, say multiple Democratic sources, Obama has indicated a preference for an alternative policy, favored by the insurance industry, which would see a public plan 'triggered' into effect in the future by a failure of the industry to meet certain benchmarks. The administration retreat runs counter to the letter and the spirit of Obama's presidential campaign. The man who ran on the 'Audacity of Hope' has now taken a more conservative stand than Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), leaving progressives with a mix of confusion and outrage. Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill have battled conservatives in their own party in an effort to get the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster. Now tantalizingly close, they are calling for Obama to step up."

Said a Democratic source to the Huffington Post:"He's been so convinced by his political people from the beginning that we can't get a bill with a public option, he's internalized it. Even though it's now become obvious we can get a bill without selling out the public option, he's still on that path."

The White House's curious stance on the issue appears to hinge on Obama's concern for a bipartisan bill and the reelection of Blue Dog Democrats. It has also made the President the target of an ad and petition by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, warning him not to compromise.

Talking Points Memo notes: "The spot will air at least 100 times in Maine, augmented by an online fundraising drive. The group's recent ad targeting Snowe helped them raise over $100,000."

UPDATE: The White House has issued a statement regarding these reports. "A rumor is making the rounds that the White House and Senator Reid are pursuing different strategies on the public option. Those rumors are absolutely false. In his September 9th address to Congress, President Obama made clear that he supports the public option because it has the potential to play an essential role in holding insurance companies accountable through choice and competition. That continues to be the President's position. Senator Reid and his leadership team are now working to get the most effective bill possible approved by the Senate. President Obama completely supports their efforts and has full confidence they will succeed and continue the unprecedented progress that is being made in both the House and Senate.

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