Glenn Greenwald: White House Never Wanted the Public Option

It looks like for now, the public option is dead. According to conventional wisdom, the provision will not get through the Senate so there is no point in trying any more. Glenn Greenwald calls BS:

Obama loyalists scorned that reconciliation proposal,

insisting (at least before theSenate passed a bill with 60 votes)that

using reconciliation was Unserious, naive, procedurally impossible, and

politically disastrous.

But all those claims were put to the test — all those bluffs were called — once the White House decided that it had to use reconciliation

to pass a final health care reform bill. That meant that any changes

to the Senate bill(which had passed with 60 votes) — including the

addition of the public option — would only require 50 votes, which

Democrats assured progressives all year long that they had. Great news

for the public option, right?Wrong. As soon as it actually became

possible to pass it, the 50 votes magically vanished. Senate Democrats

(and the White House)were willing to pretend they supported a public

option only as long as it was impossible to pass it.

I’ve long suspected that the White House wants done with the health care battle and is willing to cede perhaps the most important element of reform, a viable public plan, even if it is politically possible. The overhaul without the plan will certainly help slow down spiraling costs and lack of coverage, but it is a band aid on a much larger, more lethal wound. It is another example of the Democrats negotiating with themselves and ceding ground where they don’t have to, all in the name of ‘bi-partisanship’. If Democrats truly wanted a public option, they would fight for it. Instead, they will attempt to pass a bill that 10 years ago, would have been considered a Republican plan. Better than nothing, but still a wasted opportunity.

Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.