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On today's Diane Rehm Show, Diane's guest was former U.S. Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle.  During the show, Daschle was asked a question about the public option.  His response indicates that not only does Daschle still support the public option, but he believes that it is "a very necessary part of the landscape as we go forward."  

Here is the entire question and answer.

Here's an email from Diane, in Texas. She says, "I was disappointed you withdrew yourself for the HHS Secretary in the first Obama administration. I wonder if you feel you would have been able to push a public option in the healthcare law or would the gridlock in Congress have prevented you from doing so?"
Well, I strongly support the public option and felt that there was a moment when the public option might have been able to be passed. At the time, ultimately, when they were able to bring all the pieces together, we had lost a couple of votes for the public option. And so the votes just weren't there. And so the president made the only decision he could, which was to move what he could pass, what would garner the 60 votes. That didn't cut it, unfortunately. We'll come back to the public option someday, but I believe that ultimately that's a very necessary part of the landscape as we go forward.
(emphasis is mine)

That an insider like Tom Daschle not only still supports the public option, but believes that the public option is a "necessary part" of health care reform as we go forward, means that the public option is not dead, and that the current Affordable Care Act is not the end of health care reform.  

As Daschle explained, the public option was only abandoned because there were not 60 votes in support of it in the Senate.  Implicit in his comments is that if the votes are there in the future, Congress will reconsider its position and add the public option to the Affordable Care Act.  

I know that this will not happen now (especially given the composition of the House), but the Tea Party Republicans will not be in power forever.  And when the Democrats retake the House, and with an even bigger Democratic majority in the Senate (or fillibuster reform), we may be able to pass the public option in the Senate.

And by the way, check out Daschle's comments regarding filibuster reform on that same show.  It is too long of a discussion for me to quote in its entirety but it is worth the read.  Here is a sample:

Do you think that the talking filibuster should remain in place?

. . .  You know, it's counterintuitive but to say, no we're going to stay on this bill like Lyndon Johnson said when we dealt with the civil rights laws, he said, we're going to be on this bill for whatever length of time it takes to get it done. And it invokes the pain and the frustration that is required. That's number one.
Number two, you have to hold the floor and if you don't hold the floor there's no pain. And so those two things...
. . .

You do. You've got to -- people have to go through a couple of sleepless nights. And they say, wait a minute, I don't -- do I really want to do this? And they come up with all kinds of excuses as to why we can't do it through the night, health reasons, campaign funding, just a lot of things. I have to be in California. I've got a big fundraiser. And so there's all kinds of reasons not to do it but they've got to be on the floor. You got to bring out the cots, you've got to stay there and speak.
Strom Thurman's record of 26 hours and 37 minutes I believe is still the record. I want to see that record broken if there's going to be a filibuster. None of this stuff where you just set the bill aside.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I suspect I will be comments about single payer (7+ / 0-)

    So I wanted to state for the record that I am a stronger supporter of single payer.  However, it will be even harder to get single payer then it will be to get a public option.  

    I was disappointed that the Affordable Care Act contained neither single payer nor a public option.  Daschle's comments give me hope that we may yet see a public option in the future.  

  •  Democrats Controlled Congress When PO Failed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brown Thrasher

    the first time. Why would one expect it to pass again for the simple fact Dems may control both houses of Congress in the future?

    "The problem with posting quotes off the Internet is you never know if they're genuine."--Gen. George Washington at the Battle of Gettysburg, February 30, 1908

    by Aspe4 on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 06:24:56 AM PST

    •  Daschle apparently sees that this could happen (0+ / 0-)

      and I think that the problem the last time was the "60 vote requirement" imposed by the republicans in the Senate.  With filibuster reform, and a decent number in the Senate, we should be able to pass it with a simple majority if we control the house.  

      Not a guarantee.  But definitely worth trying if we get control of the house and keep the majority in the senate.  

    •  Lieberman (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      night cat

      won't be part of the group of democrats "controlling" the Senate.

  •  I'll say it again: the PO was a sick joke. (0+ / 0-)

    What kind of ridiculous insurance program is set up to gradually shrink its pool over time by ONLY admitting the UNinsured & barring the underinsured who are currently being abused by Big Insurance? The worst kind of token measure is the kind which is inherently set up to fail — let alone being dangled like a carrot & then taken away.

    The 2009 "public option" fiasco unmistakably demonstrated why we can never hang our hats on half-measures. The "long game" of state-by-state single-payer programs is simply the only option left.

    Remember Savita Halappanavar!

    by Brown Thrasher on Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 09:28:34 AM PST

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