Obama’s Poor Negotiation

Single payer should have been on the table from the start.   This seems to be the unfortunate lesson President Obama and his administration should be learning now.  By opting to promote a public option solution (rather than a single payer solution) from the start, the Democrats lost bargaining position with Republicans, who would have railed against any initial proposal.  A public option shouldn’t have been the proposed solution, but with some forethought, seen as the potential compromise.  Now, even that appears in doubt.

Obama has repeatedly mentioned that if he was starting from scratch he would opt for single payer.  Unfortunately, the  unlikelihood of  single payer passing Congress remains and in this sense Obama was correct in questioning its political viability.  However, this did not necessitate discarding single payer as part of the initial discussion and given its widespread adoption throughout the world successfully, it should have served as both an educational standpoint and more importantly, a negotiation tool.

There remains a false promise of bipartisanship, but any suggestion Republicans will participate in doing anything other than obstruction of health care reform should be seen as theatrics.  The downside of pushing a robust public option as part of the initial proposal for health care reform is that following negotiations, the public option plan will be watered down and become either eliminated or renderered impotent .  Again, the compromise between a good proposal and one with Republican support is a bad proposal.  So, in this case Obama should have opted for a great proposal:  single payer.

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