Seems that we now see where Our President will next turn the sales pitch on health care reform – a public option trigger. We know why, of course. He can’t sell a plan with a public option; can’t sell a plan without a public option; and can’t afford to lose. If the trigger is the only way for a public option foot in the door, Barack has no alternative. Rahm Emanuel must be gloating these days, because he said this over a month ago and was quickly dismissed and explained away.
So, when next our Congressional leaders get back to negotiating, leaving aside the questions of cost, which STILL haven’t been answered; leaving aside the issue of rationing, which STILL hasn’t been acknowledged; leaving aside the cuts to Medicare, which STILL haven’t been admitted; there is the matter of true intentions. We know that the goal of a public option is as a transitional step to single payer. They told us this. They ALL told us this. And for this reason, the response to anything including a public option, triggered or not, must be an emphatic and uncompromising ‘no’.
Having said that, in the scheme of marketing the opposition, a simple no just won’t do for the independents that have joined the Republican side of the fight. For them, there has to be an non-ideological answer for every argument. If competition were a true goal, things like portability, tort reform, and other market incentives would be inserted unadulterated into a bill. That would clearly be a better option. So, in the scheme of marketing opposition, two words must be justaposed against the term “trigger” when speaking of public option: Off-switch. That is to say, if market forces are genuinely allowed to work, the off-switch would REMOVE the foot from the door and take the trigger-switch out of the legislation. And, if the public option were to be triggered, the off-switch would be set to cap it, and keep it from engulfing the market. If there is any compromise for a trigger-switch – and I BEG the Republicans in Congress to hold fast against it – then “off-switch” should be the other side of the debate. The Democratic leadership will never agree to it, and the President can’t either, but that really isn’t the point at all. The point is one of appearances and holding ground with independents.
I want to be clear – I’m not advocating compromise. What I AM saying is that, “trigger” will be offered as to test the good faith of Republicans. As if to say, “We’ll go it your way unless and until it doesn’t work.” But, we know how this “unprincipled fight” is supposed to go. This is supposed to be a reform that fails and, as a result, DEMANDS a single payer. The term “off-switch” is, in poker terms, the call; as if to say, “Let true competition work and install an public option off-switch when it does.” A simple ‘no’ won’t work against this coming onslaught. An off-switch is the next best rebuttal.