Opinions, Context & Ideas from the TPM Editors TPM Editor's Blog

Latest on the Public Option


Part of my assumption here is that you'd have relatively few states opting out and they'd tend toward lower population states, likely clustered in the South and mountain states. So I suspect that a substantial majority of the population would be in opt-in states, providing the bargaining power that would make the public option threshold viable. And if the public option works, one would think the people in opt-out states would quickly become pretty envious of the folks in states who had the option and pressure their state governments to get in. Of course, if the public option was an abysmal failure the reverse would happen. But that's another matter.

In any case, there are a lot of questions here. And we're mobilizing a lot of reporting resources today to get a handle on a cluster of key questions -- is this viable in policy terms? is it being taken seriously on Capitol Hill? does it significantly change the vote numbers (if it doesn't, it's irrelevant)? where's the White House on this? So our teams in DC and NY are on this. But we want your thoughts and tips too.

Late Update: We've already gotten a few emails from people in states like South Dakota and Louisiana, saying, hey, this compromise is awful for us. What's great about a compromise that gives me no option at all? That's a good question. And I agree, it sucks, to put it frankly. My assumption here though is that this would be a way to get most of the population in a framework where a public option was available. And, just as important, a successful public option would create building political pressure for the opt-out states to opt in. So, again, I'm not saying it's great. But as a compromise, I think it might present a path to a good result.