Thomas Carper’s terrible new “alternative” to a public option is not winning over progressives in the House:

The new version of the government-run plan, being crafted by Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), fell flat with Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), the co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, who’s led members of Congress who’d previously spoken out against similar concessions to win over centrist Democrats and some Republicans.

“I think that compromise is totally unacceptable,” Grijalva told The Hill. “It basically emasculates the public option.”

I would personally go even one step further than Grijalva. Carper’s plan is a non-public triggered co-op non-option. I simply can’t imagine how this giant bundle of gimmicks designed to cripple the public option will produce a viable insurance entity. It seems impossible that it will improve the quality of health insurance for even one single American. It just will not work.

I would say this makes Carper’s plan worse than nothing. It is a step backwards from no public option at all. In the short term, the only function it will serve is to try to fool the American people who overwhelmingly support the public option into thinking the Senate did not betray their wishes. In the long term, when this terrible “alternative” inevitably fails, it will only serve to discredit the idea of a real public option. Adding Carper’s terrible non-public triggered co-op non-option will only make it hard to achieve real health care reform later.

If there is a choice between Carper’s worthless fig leaf and no public option at all, I would choose the latter. If Senate Democrats are planning to screw over the American people by forcing them to buy incredibly expensive junk policies from for-profit insurance companies, they should at least have the courage to be honest with their constituents. Carper’s plan is worse than unworkable; it is counterproductive to the cause of health care reform in the long term.

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