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Bingaman: Carper’s State-Based Public Option “Compromise” is Not a Plan, It’s the Status Quo

Last week a one-page plan from Sen. Carper was being circulated around the Senate. His public option “compromise” was to “let” states set up very weak, highly restricted, state-based public options if they wanted to. The problem is that this is not compromise. Any state could technically set up a public option right now if they wanted. It seems that at least Sen. Bingaman knows that this “compromise” is meaningless.

My initial reaction was, states have the authority right now, if they want to establish a so-called public option within their state, there’s no prohibition against that in federal law. There’s nothing to keep them from doing it.

Carper’s "let states choose to set up their own public option or co-ops" proposal is, at best, the status quo. Since Carper’s idea would put strong restrictions on the new state-based public option it is, in fact, worse than doing nothing. This idea is not a “compromise”–it is a step backwards.

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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

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