Pay no attention to Lucy with the football

PAY NO ATTENTION TO LUCY WITH THE FOOTBALL…. When it comes to the various compromises as part of health care reform, there are a variety of possibilities, each on different points of the quality spectrum. Different analysts may rank them in competing ways, but to my mind, from worst to best, we have no public-private competition at all, followed by a co-op plan, followed by the “trigger,” then the state opt-in plan, then the state opt-out plan, and finally a robust, national public option.

It may have come as something of a surprise, then, to hear the far-right Senate Minority Whip signal some interest in one of the less-offensive choices.

Senate GOP Whip Jon Kyl (Ariz.) on Tuesday said he supports the idea of allowing states to decide whether to opt in to a publicly run health plan. […]

The GOP whip said he prefers letting states decide whether to join instead of their being put in automatically. He said he didn’t know if he would offer the idea as an amendment during the floor debate that is expected to start within days.

Specifically, Kyl said, “I agree that states should have the option to opt in.” Soon after, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), a very right-wing lawmaker, “indicated possible support for Kyl’s idea.”

The Hill added that Kyl’s statement “could offer the seeds of a compromise.”

That’s extremely hard to believe, and Democrats would be foolish to start taking this notion seriously.

The truth is, if Senate Dems were to scale back their plan and go with an opt-in instead of an opt-out, Kyl would — and this is key — oppose the bill anyway. How do we know? Kyl has already said so, arguing repeatedly that Senate Republicans will reject the reform proposal no matter how many concessions Democrats make.

The state opt-in plan is not, on its face, a total disaster. There are far better ways to go in shaping a more effective policy, but as I said, on the spectrum of possible alternatives, it’s somewhere in the middle.

But that doesn’t change the underlying dynamic — Kyl is Lucy; Democrats are Charlie Brown; and a bipartisan compromise is the ball.

Please, Charlie, don’t go running and fall on your backside at the last moment.

Update: This afternoon, Kyl’s office said The Hill‘s report was wrong. When the senator said, “I agree that states should have the option to opt in,” it was, the argument goes, taken out of context.