What are the Democrats cooking up now? A new health care turkey casserole with public-option entrails. Yet another Demcare Trojan Horse. Watch out:
A new measure on the public option will be unveiled next week, which Senate Democratic leaders hope will break the logjam on healthcare reform.
Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), who has been tapped by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to come up with a Plan B approach to the public option controversy that has divided Democrats, has been working closely with liberal and conservative Democrats, as well as Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine).
…Carper, a junior member of the Finance Committee, was tight-lipped on the details of his plan, but noted that he has been talking extensively with Snowe. He pointed out that he served with Snowe, and her husband, former Maine Gov. John McKernan (R), in the House.
Snowe favors a trigger proposal, where a public option would go into effect if the private health insurance market falters. The trigger has been soundly rejected by some liberals in Congress.
Carper has been working on variations of the public option for months. Recently, he has touted a so-called hammer public option that he believes answers centrists’ criticisms that the public option in Reid’s bill is government-run and government-funded. The public option would kick in for states where insurance companies fail to meet standards of availability and affordability of plans. Unlike Snowe’s trigger proposal, which would give insurers at least one year to satisfy those requirements, Carper’s public option would start the first year the bill goes into effect. States might be permitted to opt into the public option even if the benchmarks are met.
Under Carper’s proposal, the bill would establish a national public insurance program founded by the government but managed by a non-governmental board. In addition, the plan would be unable to access any taxpayer dollars beyond its initial seed money. This public option would operate alongside private insurance and, potentially, the nonprofit healthcare cooperatives and state-based public plans authorized by Reid’s bill.
This plan is fluid and final details are expected to be ironed out in the coming days.