by David Ramsey
After the emergence of the "private option" last week, things continue to look sunny for the prospects of expanding health coverage. No Republican has endorsed it yet, but it sure feels like it's all over but the shoutin'.
Rep. John Burris has been out pitching the "private option" even though he is not pitching anything! Burris has also had what look like productive policy talks about the deal with the same administration officials Republicans were sparring with before.
Sen. Jonathan Dismang, another Republican who has had positive things to say about expansion now that it's routed through private companies, spoke at a healthcare rally at the Capitol. That would have been unthinkable just a few weeks ago, and Gov. Mike Beebe made sure to put his arms around him for a bipartisan photo-op.
None of the good vibes changes the fact that this approach is likely going to cost taxpayers more , and will likely lead to higher premiums on the exchange (which the government, not consumers, will be on the hook for). But the deal is still likely to be a great fiscal deal for the state in a vacuum and even features some new revenue streams.
Yeah, the Waste Wing is still making noise but their moans and groans are no longer relevant to the expansion debate.
In short, against all odds, it is looking very likely that the state will offer coverage to people that desperately need it. For all the ideological infighting these are the folks that this is about.
The Expand-o-meter now thinks that there is a 75 percent chance that the General Assembly can make the steep climb to 75 percent.