Democrats Consider ‘Trigger’ Option Instead Of Immediate Public Plan
The White House is considering a health reform proposal that would turn to a government-run public plan only if private insurers fail to provide affordable options.
The New York Times: "As President Obama faces conflicting pressures from the left and the right over his proposal for a new public health insurance program, White House officials are investigating a possible compromise under which the government would offer its own health plan only if private insurers failed to provide affordable coverage. The idea of such a backup plan or 'trigger mechanism' has emerged in negotiations between the White House and the one Republican willing to engage with them on the issue, Senator Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, on whom the White House rests its hopes of finding a middle ground."
"For several months, the administration has sent mixed signals on proposals for a public plan, sometimes embracing the idea and sometimes suggesting it is not essential."(Pear and Calmes, 9/3).
The Los Angeles Times: Talks regarding the so-called 'trigger' are ongoing between the White House and key lawmakers. "For Obama, the challenge is to come up with benchmark numbers that would satisfy both moderate Republicans and liberal Democrats. A concern voiced by Republicans is that the bar would be set so high for private insurers that a government-run program would prove inevitable. ... Suggestions that Obama might support a trigger were welcomed by the influential 52-member coalition of Blue Dog House Democrats -- conservatives who generally are not sold on the healthcare plans" (Nicholas and Parsons, 9/4).