The public message is that a public option would be good, but not essential; however, the historical rhetoric of Barack Obama and the behind the scene manueverings give a very different picture. That's why it's called politics. And, it doesn't matter which party is in power, it's the same game for all politicians: they want what they want and they want to be reelected.
Despite months of seeming ambivalence about creating a government health insurance plan, the Obama White House has launched an intensifying behind-the-scenes campaign to get divided Senate Democrats to take up some version of the idea in the weeks just ahead. And INTENSE is the operational word.
Political arm-bending can be torture!
Obama has long advocated a so-called public option, while at the same time repeatedly expressing openness to other ways to offer consumers a potentially more affordable alternative to health plans sold by private insurers. Senior administration officials are holding private meetings almost daily at the Capitol with senior Democratic staff to discuss ways to include a version of the public plan in the health care bill that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., plans to bring to the Senate floor later this month, according to senior Democratic congressional aides.
The Finance Committee is expected to approve its bill this week, after receiving cost estimates from the Congressional Budget Office. And while the panel made numerous changes over seven days of public debate, the core components of its more centrist proposal, developed in months of bipartisan talks, are still intact.
The White House initiative, unfolding largely out of public view, follows months in which the president appeared to defer to senior lawmakers on Capitol Hill as they labored to put together gargantuan health care bills. It also marks a critical test of Obama's command of the inside game in Washington in which deals are struck behind closed doors and wavering lawmakers are cajoled and pressured into supporting major legislation.
The pressure is on- Chicago style!