Politics Daily columnist Jill Lawrence reports on her interview with Harry Reid earlier this week:
Reid left no doubt he intends to get a health reform bill passed in the Senate, no matter what erupts at town hall meetings and whether any Republicans support the end result. “We can’t let the insurance industry win another round. We’re going to win this round,” he said.
If the bill doesn’t have a public insurance plan to compete with private ones, do the insurance companies win? I asked. “The public option is something that the vast majority of Americans want. They know that the enemy is the insurance industry,” Reid said. But he added that the public option “is not the only thing that’s important.” It’s also important, he said, to make sure insurance companies can’t deny policies to people who have pre-existing conditions or drop people if they develop a problem.
The House, with a large Democratic majority, is expected to pass a bill with a public option in it. If the Senate version doesn’t have one, I asked, does the public option have a shot when Senate and House negotiators meet to smooth out their differences in a conference committee?
“I’m not going to — I have to get a bill off the floor,” Reid said with a low chuckle. “So I’m not going to be threatening or suggesting anything that might come in conference. Get the picture?” I did.
This is a rich text that it would be well to keep in mind to keep a handle on the reality underllying the eruption of popular protest against the Obamacare system about to be rammed down our throats. “The public option is something that the vast majority of Americans want”? “They know that the enemy is the insurance industry”? Lawrence sees no need to spell out the subterfuge Reid contemplates to achieve Obamacare. It will all be worked out in conference. Reid’s confidence is sobering. Get the picture? I do too.