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Carper’s Trigger: An Idea Goes from Bad to Worse

Yesterday, I wrote about the terrible idea Sen. Carper has been trying to sell as an “alternative” to the public option. Thanks to a report from Politico it appears that the idea is even worse than I first thought.

Carper’s proposal would leave decisions and solutions up to the states. While Snowe’s amendment sets only an affordability test for the trigger, Carper would allow states to opt-in if affordable insurance is not widely available or the insurance market is dominated by only one or two players.

It sounds like Carper’s plan is a trigger, but a trigger that, once pulled, requires each state legislature to then act. If the state legislature acts it must then choose from three basically worthless options, a state-based public option, co-ops, or some kind of managed government partnership with private insurance companies.

If this is the case, then Carper has the dubious distinction of coming up with the worst “alternative” to the public option so far. A trigger for co-ops. This idea is so bad, it makes Conrad’s worthless state-based co-ops look robust.

FYI Politico: I understand Carper or one of his aides probably fed you this line of BS:

[T]he Delaware Democrat never staked out a public position on the government insurance option, solidifying his status as the model of an undecided moderate in need of persuading. . . .

But it is not true. Back on July 6th Carper told MSNBC that he was against a national public option that is available on day one. He said he is with Sen. Snowe, and thinks there should be a trigger like the trigger in Medicare Part D. Carper has repeatedly said he supports the trigger idea.

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at