Item one: "Sen. Ben Nelson told reporters today he will filibuster the health care bill if it doesn't contain an abortion amendment similar to Rep. Bart Stupak's amendment that passed attached to the House health care bill last month."
Item two: "Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) has asked top administration officials to make certain changes to the Senate health care bill as part of discussions that suggest her vote is up for grabs"
My crude read is that this is the White House's way of telling Ben Nelson (and Evan Bayh and Joe Lieberman and the rest of them) that they won't get to hold the bill hostage. They've never been particularly committed to the public option, and the Senators from Maine have actually been pretty good on affordability issues. Threatening to go elsewhere for the last two votes is a good way to make temper the demands of the moderates.
Pop quiz: a public option with Stupak rules? Or a crappy trigger without Stupak? Discuss.
I could live with a triggered public option if it came with more generous subsidies for purchasing private plans. To me the most important goal is that real health care coverage be more affordable. It doesn't matter quite as much to me whether that is done with public or private plans, though I would trust a public plan more.
I think you are offering a false choice. Both triggers and discrimination against women are both ways to prevent us from developing an actual health care system. The question is, what can we get that is real.
Yes, I think that getting Snowe and Collins involved in negotiations again is smart. It gives us options. Without Snowe or Collins, Nelson or Lieberman can hold the bill hostage. It is hard to tell at this point which 60 votes will permit the best bill, but having 62 votes in play makes it more likely that a bill that can get 60 of these 62 will be better.
Also, unlike Nelson and Lieberman, Snowe at least seems to have some constructive concerns / ideas.
Given that any public option that does pass will likely be neutered beyond usefulness, anyway, give me triggers and no Stupak any day. Especially if bringing Snowe and Collins on board actually improves affordability (which it may well do).
I'd take the crappy trigger. There's a better chance of improving the public option a few years from now then there would be of overcoming a filibuster to remove Stupak once it becomes law.
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