Clinton FORMALLY backs Public Option...as she's indicated all along.
Emails released last week by the State Department that were found on Mrs. Clinton’s private server show that she was keenly interested in the administration’s push to win passage of the health care law.
...The email messages show that throughout the fall of 2009, as the health care push entered a decisive phase, Mrs. Clinton lobbied some members of Congress for votes and even debated sometimes-esoteric policy proposals with aides, some of whom had worked with her in the White House when she was first lady, after her own failed attempt to push a national health care overhaul.
...Congressional officials who worked on the Affordable Care Act said that Mrs. Clinton was an important and effective advocate.
...That expertise is clear in some of the email messages, in which, for example, Mrs. Clinton questioned a decision by Senator Max Baucus of Montana, a main drafter of the legislation, to use nonprofit health insurance cooperatives to compete with profit-making insurers, rather than a government-run health plan, known as the public option.
“But the ‘system’ let the Blues go public,” she wrote in a message to Ms. Tanden, referring to the health insurance giant Blue Cross/Blue Shield, after learning of the Baucus plan. “What’s to prevent the co-ops from incorporating down the road? The return of nonprofits would have to require no changes.”
At the time, I was told by many Bernie Sanders supporters that she's "changed her mind" since then and that she "wasn't serious" about a public option (even though there had been no indication that this was the case at all).
Then, a few weeks later, Clinton brought up the PO again, though she wasn't looking at doing so at the federal level since doing it at the state level would be far easier to push through politically:
WIth this move, it sounds like Hillary may have found her way to do so, thanks to the Section 1332 State Innovation Waiver portion of the Affordable Care Act:
Section 1332 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) permits a state to apply for a State Innovation Waiver to pursue innovative strategies for providing their residents with access to high quality, affordable health insurance while retaining the basic protections of the ACA.
State Innovation Waivers allow states to implement innovative ways to provide access to quality health care that is at least as comprehensive and affordable as would be provided absent the waiver, provides coverage to a comparable number of residents of the state as would be provided coverage absent a waiver, and does not increase the federal deficit.
State Innovation Waivers are available beginning January 1, 2017. State Innovation Waivers are approved for five-year periods, and can be renewed. Waivers must not increase the Federal deficit.
Hogwash, said many Bernie supporters; she's only doing this as a gimmick because she's caught up in a heated primary battle with Sen. Sanders!
Cut to May 9th, at which point Clinton was clearly in the driver's seat in the Presidential primary:
At a campaign stop Monday in Northern Virginia, Hillary Clinton reiterated her support for a government-run health plan in the insurance market, possibly by letting let Americans buy into Medicare, to stem the rise of health-care costs.
"I'm also in favor of what's called the public option, so that people can buy into Medicare at a certain age," the Democratic presidential front-runner said during a roundtable with local residents at the Mug'N Muffin coffee shop. "Which will take a lot of pressure off the costs."
...Clinton has endorsed a public option on her website, though it seldom comes up on the campaign trail. She also discussed her proposal to ease the cutoff point for Affordable Care Act subsidies, which the law makes available to Americans making 400 percent of the federal poverty level.
..."There's just a cutoff, instead of what I'd like to see which is a kind of gradual diminishment. People shouldn't just—once they get to a certain income level shouldn't lose all their benefits," Clinton said. "That's something I'm looking at."
...there was a similar theme from others: Hillary supposedly only brought up the PO as a way of getting Bernie to shut up about Single Payer, and now that she has the nomination in the bag, she’s dropping it like a hot rock.
Well, guess what? Apparently Hillary Clinton is still interested in discussing the public option.
Now, without audio/video footage of today's event, I have no idea whether she brought the subject up herself or if it was sort of forced to the surface by someone in the audience, but the fact that she's still talking about it is promising.
Well, now it's mid-July. The primaries are over. Hillary Clinton is the presumptive nominee, and will be officially nominated in just a few weeks. Bernie Sanders has all but conceded and endorsed her. It's over, folks; the nomination is hers, and 81% of Sanders supporters have already made the move to support her.
At this point, the conventional wisdom among the die-hard #BernieOrBust crowd is supposed to be that Hillary will abandon the left wing and move to the political middle, right?
Well, guess what? From Jonathan Cohn of the Huffington Post:
Hillary Clinton formally reaffirmed on Saturday her support for creating a “public option” within Obamacare and allowing people to enroll in Medicare at age 55, campaign aides have told The Huffington Post.
The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee also called for a substantial increase in funding in medical clinics that serve low-income Americans.
“We have more work to do to finish our long fight to provide universal, quality, affordable health care to everyone in America,” Clinton said in a press release that the campaign circulated late Saturday morning. “Already, the Affordable Care Act has expanded coverage to 20 million Americans. As president, I will make sure Republicans never succeed in their attempts to strip away their care and that the remaining uninsured should be able to get the affordable coverage they need to stay healthy.”
...While Clinton has long supported the creation of new government-run insurance options, and reiterated that support several times this year, this is the campaign’s first formal endorsement of the idea.
...Federal clinics happen to be one of the few government-run healthcare programs with a history of strong bipartisan support. George W. Bush was a big fan during his presidency, for example. So while both a public option and Medicare buy-in would likely run into the same political opposition that stopped them in 2009, more money for clinics might actually have a shot of becoming law.
And there you have it.