High level White House officials have floated the trigger trial balloon a number of times in the press, and it seems they continue to do so, even at this crucial stage of the health care reform process, when their involvement is greatest. That has senators who support the public option concerned.
"Historically, 'trigger' mechanisms have not been successful, and they are not a substitute for a strong public health insurance option," said Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) in a curiously timed statement. "A 'trigger' simply delays price competition, which in turn will delay affordability for consumers and moves us farther away from the goals of health care reform. Already, we are seeing insurance companies threatening to game the system, by raising their prices in advance of reform. The only way to curb price-gouging by health insurance companies is with real competition on day one--that is the public option."
Late update: In response to this report, White House spokesman Dan Pfeiffer issued the following statement. "The report is false. The White House continues to work with the Senate on the merging of the two bills. We are making good progress toward enacting comprehensive health reform."