Sen. Tester (D, MT) ‘meh’ on public option.

Devastating, in its own way.

It apparently doesn’t excite his interest either way:

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester said that a so-called “public option” in the health care bill is optional for him – and said he is not yet committed to backing the plan being put together by U.S. Sen. Max Baucus.

Tester said Wednesday he could envision voting for a health care reform bill with or without the option that would let the uninsured buy into a Medicare type government program.

“I don’t need it either way,” Tester told The Associated Press between meetings with constituents. “I could either support it or not support it. It’s all in the design.”

Via @seanhackbarth. This is actually worse news for health care rationing proponents than if Tester was adamantly opposed to public/government option; it demonstrates that not only is he indifferent to what many progressive Democrats consider to be a make-or-break part of the bill… but Tester thinks that he can get away with saying so in public. Which he probably can, at that.

Honestly, the sooner that the other side simply admits that government option is off the table, the better; it’s keeping us from discussing the minimum level of tort reform and cross-state insurance availability needed in the final bill before Republicans will seriously consider voting for it…

Moe Lane

Crossposted to RedState.


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  • C. Peterson says:

    I am in total agreement that just a few things like tort reform and cross-state insurance purchase would be giant steps in improving current health care problems. Unfortunately a recent discussion I had with a legislator realistically pointed out both the strengths of the lawyers in beating back tort reform and (perhaps less understood), the snake pit state legislators have created as they cling to their egos and ideas that the rule book they have created is best.

    With 50 different sets of requirements for insurance companies to tackle, it would be far more productive for our federal representatives to spend their time constructing a generic (minimum) set of rules for health coverage instead of all the time they insist on wasting with ideological bickering.

    Sending all of them home with their tale between their legs in 2010 would be an excellent message that it’s time for representatives to get serious and do their job.

  • hgstern says:

    Moe, C Peterson:

    While the multi-state idea *sounds* good on paper, it’s actually a non-starter:

    1) Likelihood that pretty much every claim will be out-of-network (much greater OOP)

    2) Since some states (eg NY) have much higher premiums due to guaranteed issue, community rating, etc, healthy folks in those states will start jumping ship. Result: “death spiral” for those left behind, which exacerbates the problem.

    3) Once carriers in the lower-priced states (eg GA) start seeing droves of new insureds from the higher-priced ones, wanna guess what will happen to *their* rates? Hint: they won’t be going down.

    Tort reform? Yup. Fewer mandated benefits? Yup. Tax deductibility for individual plans? Yup. To name a few.

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