Why the Public Option's Still Alive

Polls, time, and activism keep popular concept on the table
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 21, 2009 12:57 PM CDT
Demonstrators protest in front Blue Cross offices in downtown San Francisco, Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2009.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
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(Newser) – Reports of the public option’s demise look to have been exaggerated. Nate Silver breaks down what revived it at FiveThirtyEight.com:

  •  “The tireless, and occasionally tiresome,” advocacy from liberal bloggers and interest groups.
  • The CBO thinks it will save money.
  • The shift of focus from the Gang of Six (Bingaman, Conrad, Baucus, Snowe, Grassley, and Enzi) to the Group of Six (Pelosi, Dodd, Obama, Reid, Baucus, and Snowe).

  • The opt-in/opt-out compromises, which liberals prefer to triggers or co-ops.
  • The fading memory of the tea partiers.
  • Various polls showing its popularity, particularly in swing states and districts.
  • The insurance industry’s misleading study—did they think it was still 1993?
  • The Washington Post’s “somewhat bizarre decision” to run its poll showing support for the public option on its front page, even though support’s been steady for months.