Rumors of the death of the public option may have been greatly exaggerated.
The Obama adminstration has endorsed bipartisan legislation to let states to opt out of federal health-insurance reform starting in 2014. The bill — sponsored by senators Ron Wyden of Oregon and Scott Brown of Massachusetts — would allow states to implement their own alternatives to Obamacare provided that the new state laws extend comprehensive coverage to a like number of people without adding to the federal deficit.
This is being marketed as boon to red states chafing at the requirements of Obamacare. But what's good news to Texas conservatives who hate the "individual mandate" should also delight fans of socialized medicine in Vermont.
An administration official tells Rolling Stone that the waiver program would also permit progressive states to offer their own state-run public option plans — or even go the Full Monty and implement single-payer coverage.
"That is one option that could be available," the official said, "but it's one of many options."