As I noted yesterday, Obama needs to begin the process of getting liberals to accept less out of health care legislation if he wants to get something passed, even if it means giving up his coveted government option. In one sense, he did that last night, by telling the left that the government-run plan was not the only part of his proposal, and they should be open to compromises, such as the creation of non-profit co-ops. But while liberals are happy this morning, it isn’t because they’re willing to accept such a compromise, it’s because he once again dodged the issue by maintaining his support for the government plan.
Following the speech liberal activist group USAction praised Obama, but like others on the left, reiterated that a government plan was a must.
“We support the President in his call for genuine health care reform and that means fixing the real health care challenges that the American people face,” William McNary, the group’s president, said in a statement. But he also warned that, “Without a public health insurance option, the health insurance companies win and the American people lose.”
It remains to be seen whether Obama can contain the backlash among liberals should he and the Democratic leadership formally dump the government plan, and then actually convince liberal members of Congress to vote for scaled-back legislation.