Mary Landrieu Is Against The Public Option, But Does She Know What It Is?

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"Mary Landrieu Is Against The Public Option, But Does She Know What It Is?"

225px-Mary_Landrieu_Senate_portrait 1

AP quotes Mary Landrieu “I’m not for a government-run, national, taxpayer-subsidized plan, and never will be.”

Steve Benen thinks she’s forgetting a few things:

That is, except for Medicare, which is a taxpayer-subsidized national plan that Landrieu supports.

And Medicaid, which is also a taxpayer-subsidized national plan that Landrieu supports.

And the V.A. system, which is also a taxpayer-subsidized national plan that Landrieu supports.

And S-CHIP, which is also a taxpayer-subsidized national plan that Landrieu supports.

And the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan, which is also a taxpayer-subsidized national plan that Landrieu supports — and takes personal advantage of.

The larger issue here, I think, is that unlike these programs the “public option” wouldn’t be a taxpayer-subsidized program. It would be a government-run health insurance plan that people could buy.

Interestingly, my colleague Zaid Jilani observed the other day that Landrieu has been attributing the popularity of the program to the fact that people like the idea of “free health care”:

LANDRIEU: I think when people hear “public option” they hear “free health care.” Everybody wants free health care. Everybody wants health care they don’t have to pay for. The problem is, is that we in governments and business have to pick up the tab and as individuals. So I’m not at all surprised that the public option’s been sold as free health care. But there is no free lunch.

When I first read these remarks, I thought Landrieu was saying that the public was misunderstanding the proposal. She thought people thought the public option meant bigger subsidies for them and didn’t understand what the proposal really is. Now that I’ve read her latest remarks, however, I think maybe she doesn’t understand what’s being proposed and thinks that liberals are proposing to create an additional spending commitment. In reality, adding a public option would make the Finance bill cheaper and not involve any additional taxpayer subsidies.

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