Eye of the Storm: The Public Option

As the health-care debate rages through the upcoming recess, politicians are likely to return home and find their constituents questioning the issue of a "public option" for health insurance. Republicans are—not surprisingly—labeling the idea "socialized medicine." But perhaps more important, according to the Washington Post, is the debate within the Democratic Party regarding whether the public option is worth staking one's political future. Some moderate Democrats prefer establishing non-profits that would compete with major insurers. Others insist that a public option is absolutely necessary. "Health insurance by its very nature is a rapacious industry. [Insurance companies] want to make a lot of money. We have to have a strong counterbalance to them." Sen. John D. Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) told the Washington Post. Yet again, the Democrats prove they cannot stay on-message like the Republicans.