David Broder inveighs against Harry Reid with a tone normally reserved for politicians who have had sexual relations with interns:
There is an air of desperate improvisation to Sen. Harry Reid’s scheme to pass a “public option” as part of health-care reform but at the same time provide an easy exemption for any state that objects to it. The warning flags ought to be flying for anyone who can count to three — let alone 60.[….]
I’m not entirely convinced that the public option is as essential as liberals seem to think it is. But if they are right, I don’t see how they can justify abandoning it for an uncertain number of people who have the bad luck to live in states with conservative governors and legislatures.
If a compromise is needed to get the bill to the Senate floor, far better to try Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe’s suggestion of a trigger mechanism that would activate a public option if private insurance policies at affordable rates were not broadly available.
If I am ever so senile that I believe that insurance companies wouldn’t find a way to rig a trigger mechanism, I want my feeding tubes removed.
Update. Commenter dmsilev makes an excellent point about one of Broder’s claims.
And there’s also this bit of history FAIL:
That issue was settled in the realm of economic policy during FDR’s second term, after enough new Supreme Court justices were seated to uphold the New Deal measures an earlier conservative majority had struck down. In the area of civil rights, Lyndon Johnson and a Democratic Congress put an end to the doctrine of states’ rights. Are we now to reopen those issues to make it easier for this generation of Democrats to short-circuit the legislative process?
From the Wikipedia article on Medicaid:
Medicaid was created on July 30, 1965, through Title XIX of the Social Security Act. Each state administers its own Medicaid program while the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) monitors the state-run programs and establishes requirements for service delivery, quality, funding, and eligibility standards.
State participation in Medicaid is voluntary; however, all states have participated since 1982 when Arizona formed its Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) program. In some states Medicaid is subcontracted to private health insurance companies, while other states pay providers (i.e., doctors, clinics and hospitals) directly.
And there are a whole bunch of other programs (highway funding and education come to mind) which are run in a similar manner; states can opt out if they want, but then they don’t get the money.