White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel suggested Monday that President Obama wants competition injected into the private insurance market--even if that's accomplished without a public option.
Republicans and conservative Democrats have proposed a small handful of alternatives to the public option--all of which have been rejected by reformers. But according to the Wall Street Journal
, Obama isn't standing so firm. "Mr. Emanuel said one of several ways to meet President Barack Obama's goals is a mechanism under which a public plan is introduced only if the marketplace fails to provide sufficient competition on its own
." Emphasis mine.
This is the so-called trigger mechanism, and it's been roundly rejected by reformers who view it as an escape hatch for insurers who seek to at least delay the creation of a public option. Obama's openness to this idea puts him at odds with key Democrats in both the House and Senate. On Sunday, in words reminiscent of a pledge put forth by the campaign Health Care for America Now, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY)--a key point man on the public option--said that a public "has to be available, on the first day, to everybody...so there shouldn`t be a trigger."