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QUICK TAKE: Far Left Renews Public Option Push

Progressives are pushing for a government-run health care option, but its putting more moderate Democrats at risk…

Far Left Public Option

The problems associated with the Affordable Care Act (i.e., Obamacare) are well known: skyrocketing premiums, huge spikes in out-of-pocket costs, and a decrease in competitive options.

The failure on both sides of the aisle to produce an alternative capable of becoming law has led some Democrats to double down on the law and push for further expansion. Thirty-three liberal Democrats have signed a nonbinding Senate resolution that advocates adding the “public option” to Obamacare.

The public option is a government-run insurance plan that would provide coverage to those who, despite Obamacare becoming law in 2010, are still unable to get health insurance.

And due to its high cost, it’s also politically toxic.

Despite efforts in 2009 to include a public option when Obamacare was initially introduced, it was never included, and that is partly the impetus behind progressives’ drive to include it now.

But that puts Democrats who up for reelection in red states next cycle in a real bind. That list of senators includes DSCC Chairman Jon Tester (D-MT), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Claire McCaskill (D-MO).

But that doesn’t concern Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), who has indicated now is the ideal time to raise this issue.

“We’re right in the middle of the presidential campaign, and I think it’s important during this campaign and [House and Senate races] to have a conversation about having competition in all the exchanges across the country,” Merkley said.

Regardless of the outcome of the internal Democrat debate, Republicans will be ready to push back. Obamacare has proven to be an effective wedge issue in midterm elections for Republicans in 2010 and 2014.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called the idea “Obamacare 2.0” and “insulting to the millions of Americans who continue to watch their premiums spike after Democrats said they’d be lower.”