WHEN AND WHY DID LINCOLN CHANGE HER MIND?…. Back in July, we talked about an op-ed Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D) of Arkansas wrote for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. It wasn’t perfect, but the center-right senator struck some encouraging notes:
Individuals should be able to choose from a range of quality health insurance plans. Options should include private plans as well as a quality, affordable public plan or non-profit plan that can accomplish the same goals as those of a public plan. […]
Unfortunately, opponents of reform, who have no real plan for improving health care, are already using the tired arguments of the past. They say that Congress is trying to create “more government” or a “Washington takeover” of health care, which will raise your taxes, get between you and your doctor, and eliminate private insurance. It’s a strategy that spreads misinformation and generates fear to preserve the status quo. Arkansans should not be misled by those who oppose real reform.
Of course, that was several months ago, before Teabaggers went berserk in August. But as Igor Volsky noted, as recently as yesterday, Lincoln’s own website argued, “Individuals should be able to choose from a range of quality health insurance plans. Options should include private plans as well as a quality, affordable public plan or non-profit plan that can accomplish the same goals of a public plan.”
That was the senator’s official position a day after Lincoln stood on the floor of the Senate, “promising” to join a Republican filibuster of health care reform “as long as a government-run public option is included” in the bill.
After Volsky’s post, Lincoln’s office changed the senator’s official position, scrubbing the page of any references to allowing consumers to choose among competing plans.
But given that the reasoning behind Lincoln’s conservative position on reform has gone largely overlooked, perhaps, the next time the senator is addressing reporters, someone can ask her, “So, why were you for giving consumers the choice of a public option before you were against it?”