|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
Did Rahm Emanuel privately signal to Democratic Senators that the White House is prepared to drop the public insurance option from health care reform in order to get a bill passed? Two Dem Senators now say Emanuel is signaling exactly that:
White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel met last night at the U.S. Capitol with Senate Democrats and told them Obama is “open to alternatives” to a new government insurance program in order to get legislation overhauling the health-care system to his desk, said Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota.
“His message was, it’s critical that you do this,” Conrad said.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus of Montana said Emanuel urged the senators to seek Republican support and didn’t discourage them from pursuing the use of non-profit cooperatives, an idea Conrad has proposed.
That last line is key: The White House may be signaling that getting a public option is less important than winning bipartisan support. This would undercut Dems who want to bypass the GOP, arguing that bipartisanship as an end in itself isn’t as important as a public option.