Ryan Lizza of the New Yorker, A.B. Stoddard of The Hill, and Christina Ballantani of The Washington Times, appeared as panelists on MSNBC's "The Ed Show" tonight. One of the issues they addressed was the difficulty in passing health care reform, particularly one that includes a public option.
While Republicans are pretty much uniformly against a public option, despite a recent poll showing that a solid majority of Americans favor some kind of government-run plan, the panel honed in on two key problems for proponents of a public option.
The first is that the uninsured, who would benefit the most from a government-run plan, are not a very powerful and vocal constituency, and despite a majority of Americans favoring a public plan, they are also afraid of losing their coverage.
The second, and more important, problem is that the Democrats themselves are divided on the issue. If, Ballantani notes, they decided to really play hardball (and could keep all their members in line), they have the votes to do what the Republicans did during the Bush administration and push a plan through Congress without Republican support.
Watch the panel debate on health care reform below.