Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Something to Watch For

It's yet another Election Day, this time the primary elections in Illinois.  I have to admit I haven't been following those elections very closely, but it's a good occasion for me to bring up a point I made a while ago: I expect that the future of the public option is very good, if the Democrats can manage to pass health care reform without it this year. 

If you don't want to click through for the full argument, here's the short version: liberals love the public option and believe that it's popular, and therefore it's highly likely that it will become a standard issue position for Democrats running in contested primary elections. (The other part of the argument, not as relevant here, is that it seems likely that a public option could be added to an enacted Obama health care reform structure through reconciliation). Currently, Congressional moderates have little invested in the public option, and probably did not campaign on it in the past (and almost certainly didn't campaign on it as a central issue), but I argued that that's likely to change in the near future.

So I predicted.  Is it true?  As I said, I haven't been following the Illiniois Senate primary, or for that matter any contested Democratic primaries for the House.  For what it's worth, the three leading Democrats for the open Senate seat all feature the public option prominently in their health care position statements on their web sites.  Of course, this is Illinois...a better test will be a more Republican state, or some of the more conservative Congressional districts.  As I said, it's something to look out for as the election year rolls along (and if anyone has seen any evidence one way or another, please leave a comment below).

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