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Liberal Bloggers Relieved Hamsher Won’t Attack Howard Dean’s Public Option

So I’m on a terrific demo at the Apple Store in Pittsburgh, because when you’re at Netroots Nation, you’re expected to have a working wifi system, and mine wasn’t, and I tap into the usual suspects and discover that my young friend Jane — she who’s whip must be obeyed — has become the stuff of nightmares for even younger Matthew Yglesias.

Young and brilliant Matt is relieved to have the equally young Ezra Klein confirm that the public option now supported by Gov. Dean and that passes for the minimum insurance reform we can expect in the Age of Death Panels is more "progressive" than what Dean was advocating in 2004.

This apparently means two things in Matt’s view: we’re making progress in developing proposals we haven’t passed yet and, more important, this progress is non-radical enough to earn Ezra’s seal of approval. Young Matt describes Dean’s original plan and how it would play in Hamsherland today:

This was a pretty good health plan. But it wouldn’t achieve truly universal coverage (he bragged, “It doesn’t have to be this way in America. In Vermont, where I served as governor for the last 11 years, nearly 92% of adults now have coverage”) and it didn’t include a public plan. The up to age 25 thing is a good idea that I’d like to see incorporated into present-day discussions. But basically this plan amounted to something that today would count as a squishy moderate proposal that would get you denounced by Jane Hamsher as an insurance company sellout. And yet reading it in 2004, everyone recognized that for all its incrementalism the Dean plan was, in fact, a series of progressive measures that would constitute a huge advance over the status quo.

Gosh, what a relief! And I think it’s swell that no one is suggesting that the reason Dr. Dean’s prescription has changed to demand at least a strong public plan to force the insurers to be honest or lose market share is that he’s come to realize how sick the current insurance system is and why it’s going to need to be replaced, at whatever pace Americans feel comfortable with.

I just hope that when Jane co-hosts a health care reform event this evening with Dr. Dean, he does not feel too threatened by Ms. Hamsher.

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John has been writing for Firedoglake since 2006 or so, on whatever interests him. He has a law degree, worked as legal counsel and energy policy adviser for a state energy agency for 20 years and then as a consultant on electricity systems and markets. He's now retired, living in Massachusetts.

You can follow John on twitter: @JohnChandley