In the health debate, liberals sing Hari Krishnas to the "public option" -- a new federal insurance program like Medicare -- but if it's good enough for the middle class, then surely it's good enough for the political class too? As it happens, more than a few Democrats disagree.
On Tuesday, the Senate health committee voted 12-11 in favor of a two-page amendment courtesy of Republican Tom Coburn that would require all Members and their staffs to enroll in any new government-run health plan. Yet all Democrats -- with the exceptions of acting chairman Chris Dodd, Barbara Mikulski and Ted Kennedy via proxy -- voted nay.
In other words, Sherrod Brown and Sheldon Whitehouse won't themselves join a plan that "will offer benefits that are as good as those available through private insurance plans -- or better," as the Ohio and Rhode Island liberals put it in a recent op-ed. And even a self-described socialist like Vermont's Bernie Sanders, who supports a government-only system, wouldn't sign himself up.
Of course, they also qualify now for generous Congressional coverage. Most Americans won't have the same choice. Some will be transferred to the new entitlement as it uses its taxpayer bankroll to dominate insurance markets. Others work for businesses that will find it easier to dump their policies and move employees to the federal rolls. Democrats also know that the public option will try to control health spending by squeezing payments made to doctors and hospitals, and by not paying for treatments that Washington decides are too expensive, which will result in inferior care. (continues here a WSJ)