Bloggers are re-checking the public plan’s pulse after 20 Democratic senators signed a new letter in support of the measure but they don’t see much life.
Hot Air’s Allah Pundit, watching a video exchange between HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, thinks the buzz will amount to little: “now that I’ve watched Sebelius, I think the whole thing’s a lame bluff. Note well how she qualifies her reply to Maddow: Yeah, sure, we’re totally open to a public plan — so long as there’s a majority in the Senate that’ll go for it.”
The New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn thinks the politics are treacherous for efforts to include a public option: “At this point, it’s going to take a herculean effort by President Obama and the leadership to secure fifty votes even for a modest reconciliation bill, one that merely fixes some of the more egregious flaws in the bill the Senate finally passed. Adding a public option–something more conservative Democrats never liked in the first place–will make that task a lot harder.”
The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein, thinks adding a public option could invigorate the Democratic base, but says: “I’d still bet against the public option. For one thing, there’s sharp resistance to this idea in the White House. The administration has just spent weeks rebranding itself as a bipartisan outpost in a sea of bickering hacks. Resuscitating the most controversial element of the bill and running it through reconciliation looks less like reaching out and more like delivering a hard left cross to the opposition.”
Time’s Kate Pickert also says she “remains very skeptical that a final Democratic bill, even one passed via reconciliation, will include a public option.”
The Weekly Standard’s Gary Andres argues that Republicans could come out well in next week’s health care ’summit’ because public opinion of GOP health care ideas improve the more Republicans discuss them.
And John Goodman surveys the policy gaps between Democrats and Republicans and comes to a glum conclusion: “It’s hard to see how a gulf this wide can be bridged.”