The White House is trying to clear the air on the public plan option. But, so far, all they’ve done is sow further confusion.
It’s clear: That Obama would prefer the public plan option.
What’s not clear is: Would he settle for the “coop” plan instead?
As we know, over the weekend, Obama himself downplayed the public plan option, calling it only one “small sliver” of the bill. And HHS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius said he’d settle either for the public plan or the coop.
That unleashed a firestorm of criticism from Democrats.
So, Monday, two top White House aides put out statements saying the president still feels the public plan is “the best way” to provide more choice and more competition.
But that still doesn’t answer the question:
In order to get a bill, would he jettison the public plan option in favor of the much weaker coop plan?
There’s only one way to clear things up.
President Obama must take a stand. He must tell Senators: I want a public plan option. It must be part of any bill. And I will not sign a health care reform bill without it.
Until he does that, it’s still murky.
That’s my parting shot for today.