Tealeaf readers think they detect a movement by Sen. Blanche Lincoln in the direction of a meaningful public health insurance program. You decide. I'll believe it when her vote goes for a bill that includes government-provided health insurance.
Republicans think she's gone over to the dark side. Their news release:
Lincoln Flips On Health Care
After Pressure From Left, Lincoln Changes Position On Public Plan
WASHINGTON – After feeling the heat from the left, U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) once again changed her position on a critical issue in Arkansas: health care reform. According to her op-ed in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette today, Lincoln shifted her earlier position against committing to support a Washington-centered public health care option:
“Health care reform must build upon what works and improve inefficiencies. 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.”
As the Washington Post’s Plum Line blog reported today:
“Looks like pressure from the left might be getting results, albeit limited ones, in the case of ‘centrist’ Dem Senator Blanche Lincoln… Lincoln, who’s getting hammered by ads demanding she commit to the public option, has now shifted towards supporting one... That’s a shift from her previous position, which was only that she was ‘evaluating’ a public plan or a non-profit substitute.”
“Both parties support health care reform and believe we must bring down the costs that are burdening families and small businesses. But by suddenly bowing to pressure from left-wing interest groups and announcing her support for government-run health care, you have to wonder if Blanche Lincoln’s decisions are guided by principle or politics?” said National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) spokeswoman Amber Wilkerson.
“Arkansans have a right to know where Lincoln actually stands on this critical issue: Does she support a patient-centered system where control stays with patients and doctors? Or does she want a top-down system where bureaucrats make the health care decisions for Arkansas families?” Wilkerson asked. “It appears that pressure from the left has led Lincoln to choose the latter, and this will be a significant issue in her campaign for re-election next year.”