An article by Maggie Mahar delivering a glimpse of hope to progressives everywhere - I can only hope she is right, and to help her be right, maybe all of us liberals have a role to play in all of this.
In brief, there are many proposals out there on how health care should be reformed, but here is the bottom line - without the public option, no significant changes will be made.
Why? You ask.
It is simple - any combination of subsidies, payment cap, cost shifting, mandate, or any other fancy tricks we could come up with, does not matter without a reasonably-priced, outcomes-based alternative that could be the public option, because with only private insurers to choose from, insurance will remain overpriced as these companies' only goal is to please shareholders, and not to protect consumer's health. Any combination of the tricks mentioned above, again, only alters ways money is channeled - in the end, all that money still goes to the richest 10% of this country, and all that money still comes from you and me. The only difference is the forms in which we pay through our noses - taxes, premiums, deductibles - that difference does not make us healthier in the long run.
So if anyone tries to convince you that our healthcare can change without the public option, listen to them with a grain of salt. But more importantly, it is not over until the last senator sings at the conference, and until then, the least we can do is to pipe about how we will not rest until a reasonable public option is part of the bill.