Sunday, September 6, 2009

Government Insurance 'Trigger' Draws Bipartisan Criticism in Health Care Debate

"Conservatives and liberals alike are puncturing the latest trial balloon in the health care reform debate, finding flaws with a proposal that would keep a government-run health insurance plan on reserve in case private insurance companies don't meet certain benchmarks.

The so-called "trigger" has been floated by Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, a member of the "gang of six" Senate negotiators who are trying to broker a bipartisan compromise. Under such an option, if agreed-upon goals are not met by the insurance industry, then that would pull the trigger on government-run insurance.

It's unclear whether President Obama will address the idea when he delivers a high-stakes health care address to Congress Wednesday night. But even as the White House signals it's open to considering alternatives to a hard-and-fast "public option," administration officials and congressional negotiators are hard-pressed to find an alternative that could win more votes than it loses.

Liberals complained the trigger would likely prevent a public option from ever being implemented. Conservatives complained, to the contrary, that it would act as a surefire public option -- only several years down the road.

"If you say to the government bureaucracy, 'As long as you find it has failed, you get to build a brand-new bureaucracy,' you have a guarantee the trigger's going to go into effect. I mean, you're only delaying for four years what will become a 100-year problem," former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told "FOX News Sunday."

Gingrich said Republicans probably would not find the trigger more acceptable than the current plan.

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele also described it as a smokescreen last week.

"Do you really think what he gets and signs at the end somewhere will not have the appropriate triggers in place that eventually sets that in motion?" he said.

But a campaign is already underway on the left to take the trigger off the table before it gains traction. urged members over the weekend to flood the White House comment page with opposition to the idea.

"We can't afford to wait for real health care reform," the group said in an e-mail, arguing that "the need for real reform was 'triggered' long ago."

"The trigger would make the creation of a public option dependent on whether insurance companies, years in the future, met a series of conditions -- rather than creating one now. In truth, the 'trigger' is a trap to kill health care reform. Even if the 'trigger' conditions are met years from now, big insurance companies will start the fight all over again to stop the public option from going into effect," the message said."

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1 comment:

Matt said...

Just goes to show that Snowe, needs to join the ranks of the unemployed. The trigger will be implemented at some point. The left will simply jack up the requirements whenever they can, until the private companies can no longer keep up. Then, the lefties will cry, "OMG CRISIS!!!!" And implement their public option. Once they get that, they will keep increasing requirements until most of the population is on the public option. Then, they'll cry, "OMG CRISIS-WE NEED SINGLE PAYER!" Poof- we have single payer. All according to plan.