It appears Thomas Carper (D-DE), who has famously created a string of terrible “alternatives” and “compromises” for the public option, is at it again. This time, it seems Carper has completely reinvented (cribbed? copied?) Snowe’s trigger proposal, and must be hoping no one notices:
Senator Tom Carper, a Delaware Democrat, said he is crafting a compromise that might be offered as a replacement for the public option during floor debate. The proposal would require states where insurance plans don’t meet affordability standards to offer an alternative, national plan run by a nonprofit.
The group running the national plan would be appointed by the president and would get a government line of credit with the idea that it would be repaid, Carper told reporters today. Details are still being worked out, though the new program wouldn’t be designed as a co-operative, he said.
Carper called the idea a “hammer approach” for states. The nonprofit board would include the Health and Human Services secretary in its initial years as an ex-officio member.
Does this sound familiar? It should because it is not just like Olympia Snowe’s worthless trigger, it is identical to Snowe’s trigger. There are some useless “affordability standards,” which, if not met, would trigger offering in that state some non-profit alternative run by individuals appointed by the president. Here is the plain text description of Snowe’s trigger:
Short Title: Provision of Safety Net fallback plan to ensure access to affordable coverage
Description of Amendment: This amendment establishes a non-profit government corporation through which a ?safety net? plan would be provided in any state in which affordable coverage was not available in the Exchange to at least 95% of state residents. An individual would be deemed to have affordable access if either of two conditions is met. First, two or more plans are offered with premiums – the cost of which does not exceed a specified percentage of the individual‘s adjusted gross income (AGI), after deducting any available tax credit or employer subsidy from the cost of such premium. The percentage contribution shall range from 3 percent of AGI at 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, to 13 percent at 300 percent and above.
Assessment of affordability shall follow submission of plan premiums filed one year in advance of the first day of each policy year, and should a state be found to not meet the 95% threshold, plans would be permitted to submit of any revised premium filings, after which a second assessment of affordability shall be performed. If, after that second assessment, a state still be deemed as not meeting the affordability standard, the safety net plan shall be offered within that state, and shall be available at the pending open season enrollment.
These two trigger proposals are essentially identical—and identically worthless. Do you know why people who are opposed to the public option claim to support a trigger? It is because the only trigger standards they support are designed to insure that the trigger is never pulled. A trigger is simply a way to kill the public option. Senate Democrats must believe the progressive base to be incredibly stupid if they think Carper’s worthless trigger—designed to kill the public option—would ever be acceptable as a “compromise.”
Who possibly could be helping Carper come up with all his terrible alternatives designed to kill the public option? Could it be his former chief of staff and current WellPoint lobbyist, Jonathon Jones?