Mary Landrieu Flips on Public Plan

Mary Landrieu (D-LA)

Mary Landrieu (D-LA)

Mary Landrieu (D-LA) is now saying that she “is not open to a public option” in health care reform, though she is “open to a compromise – a full compromise.” It’s hard to know what that really means, but Ryan Grim observes that in the past Landrieu had promised to support such a plan:

“HCAN principles embody an approach that actually delivers a solution of guaranteed quality, affordable health care for all in America. Under this approach, everyone gets a choice of health insurance plans, including the right to keep your current insurance, choose another private plan or to join a public health insurance plan,” she wrote in April.

“Again,” she concluded, “I support the HCAN Statement of Common Purpose, and I oppose the ‘on your own’ approaches to health care reform that go against these principles. And, I salute the efforts of the broad grassroots coalition represented by Health Care for America Now to advance this most critical of issues.”

The HCAN Statement of Common Purpose explicitly advocates for a public option, calling for “a choice of a private insurance plan, including keeping the insurance you have if you like it, or a public insurance plan without a private insurer middleman that guarantees affordable coverage.”

I suppose my main takeaway from this kind of thing is that progressives in congress ought to make their initial “bid” on the public plan quite high. There seem to be a certain number of members with somewhat hazy views on the subject, but a desire to take whatever “the public option” is and trim it down with a compromise of some kind. But all kinds of different things could count as “a compromise” and the important thing, from a progressive point of view, is not to be uncompromising but to get a public option that can do some real good.