Ben Nelson Stands With Insurance Companies


Given his general proclivities, I’m not shocked to learn that Ben Nelson opposes Barack Obama’s health care plan. But the precise terms in which he frames his opposition are a bit surprising to me:

Nelson’s problem, he told CQ, is that the public plan would be too attractive and would hurt the private insurance plans. “At the end of the day, the public plan wins the game,” Nelson said. Including a public option in a health plan, he said, was a “deal breaker.”

Note two things here. One, the reason to oppose a public plan is that it would work too well and take business away from insurance companies. But second, defending the interests of insurance companies is so overwhelmingly important to Nelson that it’s a “deal breaker” for him.

This second part is important. Health care reform is an enormous, complicated undertaking. Nobody’s going to be thrilled with every provision of a bill. So it’s important to know where one’s deal-breakers lie. Nelson says his deal-breaker is that health reform needs to protect the interests of insurance companies. It’s good to know.