Here’s what I think might be happening with the health care debate in the United States.
- The Obama administration figured out early on that a “public option” and “co-ops” could be, in some ways, quite similar. One way of looking at it is that a good co-op system would be better than a bad public plan, and bring about many of the benefits that a better public plan would.
- They decided to push the public option hard, knowing that it was something they could compromise on.
- The opposition pushed back really hard on the public option.
- But the methods they used and/or tacitly supported alienated a lot of people.
- 50% (these percentages are made up) of people thought the government should be more involved in health care before, and 55% think so now.
- The administration pulled back on the public option, making the opposition feel like they won a huge victory.
- But the administration still has the co-ops, people opposed to more government involvement seem a little crazy to more and more people (even though being opposed to government involvement is not necessarily crazy), and health care reform is still moving in the desired direction, which was probably the best they could hope for in the first place.
(Full disclosure: I should admit that I approach this issue with a strong bias to believe that Obama is a pragmatic genius.)