The big news in the health reform debate is that the White House seems to be willing to give up on the “public option,” a government insurance program that would compete with private insurers. Everyone sees this as a big story, but there’s something revealing about the way the Washington Post‘s Ceci Conollyled her piece:
Racing to regain control of the health-care debate, two top administration officials signaled Sunday that the White House may be willing to jettison a controversial government-run insurance plan favored by liberals.
In Beltway mediaspeak, “regain control” must mean doing something that right-wing Democrats and Republicans want. The Post‘s Dan Balz already made this recommendation about the public option, writing on August 12, “Some of his staunchest allies believe that course would be prudent and might change the dynamic of the debate in the administration’s favor.” And on the roundtable segment on ABC‘s This Week on August 9, host George Stephanopoulos wondered if Obama would accept a watered-down bill in order to break with the “Howard Dean wing of the party.” This notion was seconded by panelist Cokie Roberts, with right-wing columnist Peggy Noonan chiming in to say, “Maybe it would be good for the President if the left got absolutely furious about something.”
So the health reform debate has shifted even further to the right–exactly where the corporate media wanted it.