Tom Carper’s Office: Public Option is a Fall Back?

Filed in National by on September 1, 2009

So what is Tom Carper’s position on Public Option Health Care? A friend of mine just called up Senator Carper’s office, and inquired whether Carper (who claims that he “doesn’t oppose” the public option, a weaselly double-negative) would support a public option plan that was “available on day one”. Why is this important? In the time it takes you to read this post, another American will go bankrupt due to health care costs – one every 30 seconds.

Surprisingly, he got an actual answer: No.

According to Carper’s office, our senator views a potential public option plan as a “fall back” plan if a Senate (presumably “bipartisan”) bill fails to reduce health insurance costs via other means (like what, paying them off?). So no, no public option on day one, we’re going to give those swell folks in the health-care-rationing, claims-denial business ample time to pump money into more tea parties before we make a serious effort at covering 50 million uninsured Americans. This is the same as Olympia Snowe’s position:

“Throughout the entire health care debate, Senator Snowe has emphasized that we must first, reform health insurance, and if plans then fail to offer affordable coverage, a public plan should then be offered from day one,”

Notice the inherent contradiction between “first-if-then” and “day one”? I’ll give Carper this – at least his staff didn’t have the gall to use the phrase “day one” to mean the opposite of what was being asked about.

But as LeVar Burton would say, don’t take MY word for it – call the Senator’s offices and confirm this for yourself! Acknowledge that Carper is on the record as “not opposing” a public option (depending on the nature of the bill), and ask if our Senator would support or oppose a public option plan “available on day one with no trigger”.

DC Office: (202) 224-2441
Wilmington: (302) 573-6291
Dover: (302) 674-3308
Georgetown: (302) 856-7690

For a better understanding of the “trigger” issue, check out this post:

Now we come to “the fallback plan” or trigger option. An idea being floated by Sen. Olympia Snow and flat-out embarrassingly supported by Sen. Ron Wyden (who has publicly said he’s open to a public plan) would create a “trigger.” Health care would happen this year, but the public plan would not. As Pear explains, “the public plan would be created only if private insurance companies had not made meaningful, affordable coverage available to all Americans within several years.” All of these terms – “meaningful,” “affordable” and “several years” – are as vague as can be. The trigger may be set up so, in effect, it never happens, similar to the Medicare Part D trigger that would have created a public prescription drug plan – but never did. The threshold would be low enough that it could be easily, and superficially, met. Throughout those “several years,” the insurance plans would receive all of the uninsured who enroll through a National Health Exchange, pocketing what we can hope are generous government subsidies, with very few changes to their behavior.

Swine flu’s a-comin’ – do you want your co-workers trying to shrug off “a little cold” so they can save money on doctor’s bills? Do you want another massive giveaway of your tax dollars to corporate health insurance fat cats (who already make record profits)?


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X Stryker is also the proprietor of the currently-dormant poll analysis blog Election Inspection.

Comments (7)

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  1. Carper may be full of it. Since the Dems have to go it alone, it may mean that the public option has to be robust to pass through the budget reconciliation process. However, the provisions will have to sunset (just like Bush’s tax cuts). TPM breaks it down.

  2. Delaware Republican says:

    I would not hold your breath on Carper’s views but it is common knowledge the Public Option is now viewed as the costly and inept Government Option. The public option is going nowhere, Ted Kennedy memory or not.

    Sad but true the demise of government option is Obama’s fault and the liberal extremists in the Dem party will want a pound of flesh from someone.

    Mike Protack

  3. Von Cracker says:

    “…it is common knowledge the Public Option is now viewed as the costly and inept Government Option”

    Your stated “fact” is wrong, of course, and your option of it really doesn’t matter….

    And Magnum, it’s not about the funds flowing through the public option that’s important, it’s all about what each individual can save, regardless of taking the PubOp or staying with a current private plan. Either way, your costs will lower and you’ll be able to spend that savings on something else, which would be much better for a small business owner instead of paying for some insurance exec’s third chateau.

    So since you’re wrong about that, Mags, want to try being wrong about the quality of care as well?

    Stop being a drone.

  4. xstryker says:

    It’s hilarious seeing Protack call other people extremists. Even the local teabaggers don’t want to be associated with him.

    And you can try to dampen out spirits, Protractor, but we are going to win this fight. The conservative movement is dead – William F. Buckley, Ronald Reagan, and Barry Goldwater would flay Glen Beck were they alive today. Your rabid mobs did not stop Catholic immigration in the 1890’s, they failed to stop Social Security (and Reagan stated often that he was a lifelong New Dealer), they failed to stop Medicare, and they failed to stop Democrats from landing 60 Senate seats (in fact, they helped us get it).

    Public Option Health Care will pass in reconcilliation with 51 votes or more, all Democrats. HCAN’s whip count currently stands at 45, and it will be 46 as soon as Deval Patrick can appoint a replacement for Senator Kennedy. That’s 5 votes away, and all 5 are Democrats. Two of them I’m sure will be Ron Wyden and Robert Byrd. That leaves our choice of Begich, Tester, Pryor, the Nelsons, Landrieu, Lincoln, Bayh, Carper, Conrad, and Baucus – just need 3. And if we keep pushing, we can stiffen Obama and Reid’s spines enough to push a few of these guys to come to the table.

  5. Von Cracker says:

    50 and Biden will work too!

  6. Scott P says:

    It’s so cute. The conservatives try their little hearts out trying to make the public option be not popular. But every poll that is worded correctly so that people actually know what they’re being asked about shows the public option as quite popular. xstryker is right. It will pass. And not long after it takes effect it will be very popular, just like the other social programs, and it won’t matter a bit whether it passed with 50, 51, or 91 votes.

  7. Exactly, Scott. No one remembers how a bill was passed once it’s passed except the real political junkies. I can prove this because look at the media coverage of budget reconciliation. The media is acting like it’s something new when in fact Bush pushed his tax cuts through using budget reconciliation. Does anyone remember that?

    The public option isn’t dead. I think co-ops are dead, though. I think what we’re fighting about now is how strong or weak the public option will be.