Wyden: Republicans Will Never Support A Public Health Option

wyden1.jpgThe POLITICO reports that Republicans are turning their backs on Obama’s public health plan proposal:

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who has filed the only health care reform bill with Republican cosponsors, said he spoke with 85 senators as he developed his proposal over the last few years—and found no GOP support for a plan that included a government option. “From a raw political standpoint, having talked to a lot of senators, I wouldn’t have any Republicans on the Healthy Americans Act as cosponsors if we had a public option,” Wyden told POLITICO this week.

Gloomy news, but certainly not a death sentence. Part of the problem is that nobody has spent much time sketching out the details for how to foster fair private/public competition. Republicans have hijacked the concept and confused it with socialist medicine, and progressives are only now starting to push back against their rhetoric.

For instance, the New America Foundation’s Elizabeth Carpenter explained to me that Len Nichol’s recent ‘A Modest Proposal For A Competing Public Health Plan‘ “was really designed to turn the debate from “the public plan is socialism” to a more substantive conversation about how to design the public plan.” Other papers are also in the pipeline. (Next Monday, CAPAF will release a new paper by Peter Harbage titled, Public Plan Choice.)

It’s also worth noting that while Republicans have already slammed the book on the public option, the public supports the idea. A new poll released today by Lake Research found that a whopping 73% of voters “want everyone to have a choice of private health insurance or a public health insurance plan while only 15% want everyone to have private insurance.”