A Public Option in the Democratic Platform?

It was only a year ago, when Democrats approved the party’s platform in Denver. In the space of 57 pages, the platform addressed all manner of issues before the country: energy, science, national security, education, etc. The platform laid out for the voters a clear statement of what the Democratic party stands for, and called on voters to make a choice between the GOP vision for the country and the Democratic vision for the country — a choice digby described yesterday as being between "the fear and resentment tribe and the inspiration and progress tribe."

In the platform of the inspiration and progress tribe, after the introductory comments, the very first issue that is raised is health care: 

If one thing came through in the platform hearings, it was that Democrats are united around a commitment that every American man, woman, and child be guaranteed affordable, comprehensive healthcare. In meeting after meeting, people expressed moral outrage with a health care crisis that leaves millions of Americans–including nine million children–without health insurance and millions more struggling to pay rising costs for poor quality care. Half of all personal bankruptcies in America are caused by medical bills. We spend more on health care than any other country, but we’re ranked 47th in life expectancy and 43rd in child mortality. 

The whole health care section of the Democratic platform is well worth reviewing, as Democrats prepare for the battles in the coming weeks. The opening vision of inspiration and progress it lays out for health care is particularly impressive (emphasis added):

Our vision of a strengthened and improved health care system for all Americans stands in stark contrast to the Republican Party’s and includes:

Covering All Americans and Providing Real Choices of Affordable Health Insurance Options. Families and individuals should have the option of keeping the coverage they have or choosing from a wide array of health insurance plans, including many private health insurance options and a public plan.

Max Baucus: did you catch the last four words there? ". . . and a public plan." 

Health care is the very first issue the platform deals with at length, and the very first specific policy prescription in that section is for health care choices that include a public plan.

The polling shows that the country wants to have the choice of a public plan for their health insurance, and the platform adopted by the Democratic party last August says that the Democrats want to provide people with that choice.

Why do Rahm Emanuel, Max Baucus, and the Blue Dogs not want to do what the country yearns for and what the party pledged itself to do? After all, if voters wanted a GOP health care plan that is driven by fear and resentment, they would have elected more than 40 of them to the US Senate.

The choice of a public plan: that’s what Democrats promised, and that’s what the country wants. 

It’s time to step up, Mr. President, and help the Democrats on the Hill to do what was promised.

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