Public Option Revisionist History

The public option owes its demise to President Obama, not Republicans

Thom Hartmann is engaging in some serious revisionist history by trying to claim conservatives are the ones who killed the public option. From his piece in Salon:

Hannity himself was blown away and immediately noted that Luntz made “a great point” and that from then on Hannity himself would use the term “government option.”

A new message was born.

Here was the Washington managing editor of Fox News, Bill Sammon, instructing his news anchors to use poll-tested terms that would help Republicans sway the public’s opinion against President Obama’s health reform law. It was plain-and-simple propaganda.

A few months later, Fox News’s manufactured fear of a “government takeover of health care” successfully forced Democrats to drop the Public Option from the health reform law.

While it is true conservatives attacked every aspect of the law, including the public option, they mostly failed in their attempts to turn the American people against the public option. Well into late 2009 the public option still enjoyed majority support among the American people according to several polls. When Democrats finally removed the public option from the Senate bill it was still one of the more popular elements in the proposed reform package.

Democrats removed the public option from the bill because Democrats really didn’t want to have a public option. President Obama made a deal with insurance industry groups to kill the public option and that is one of the few health care promises he kept. Democrats had ample opportunity and plenty of public support for adding a public option via the reconciliation bill. It would have only taken 50 votes in the Senate but Democrats choose not to.

Conservatives tried their best to kill the public option but they really deserve almost no credit for its demise. The public option was murdered by President Obama, in the backroom, with secret industry deals and the help of his close personal friend Sen. Joe Lieberman.

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