Even as I write this, President Barack Obama is telling a crowd of New Orleanians that Congress will be passing health care reform "with the help of [Senator] Mary Landrieu [D-La.]." Huh! You know... he may want to check in on how much help Landrieu has been giving the reform effort in the past 24 hours! During an interview yesterday with MSNBC's David Shuster and Tamryn Hall, Landrieu offered up a brand-new, scintillatingly crap-minded talking point against the public option:
HALL: Do you believe in the polling that says that the American people want a public option? Do you believe in that desire from the folks that you and all of the others represent that say that they want a public option to happen to help offset these costs?
LANDRIEU: I think when people hear public option they hear free health care. Everybody wants free health care. Everybody wants health care they don't have to pay for. The problem is that we as governments and business have to pick up the tab and as individuals. So I'm not at all surprised that the public option has been sold as free health care, but there is no free lunch and it's costing us 16% of the gross national product and it's driving businesses out of business. So I wish it was as simple as saying you can have a public option and everything's going to be great or not. The fact it's more complicated than that and it's been a very I think unfortunate debate between public option and not public. We should be thinking about public/private partnerships and cost containment.
Naturally, I am at a loss as to how anyone in the world could have gotten the idea that the public option, which would be purchased -- with money -- on a health care exchange alongside other private insurance options, could have possibly gotten the idea that it amounts to "free health care." Landrieu provides no names, either of people laboring under this misconception or of people promulgating it. In fact, this is the first I've ever heard of this whole notion. I suspect that Landrieu is just straight makin' this up off the top of her head.
At any rate, while it's not true that the public option equals "free health care," what cannot be disputed is that when you hear "Mary Landrieu," you should think, "bought and paid for by health care industry lobbyists".
[Hat tip: Crooks and Liars]