This is what Nebraska’s Democratic Senator, Ben Nelson, said on Sunday morning regarding the public option and a possible “trigger” mechanism:
Well I think he [Obama] has to say that if there’s going to be a public option, it has to be subject to a trigger. In other words, if somehow the private market doesn’t respond the way that it’s supposed to, then it would trigger a public option or a government-run option. But only as a fail-safe backstop to the process.When I say trigger, out here in Nebraska and the midwest, I don’t mean a hair-trigger. I mean a true trigger – one that would only apply if there isn’t the kind of competition in the business that we believe there would be.
Put aside the trigger talk for a moment and take a step back. Ben Nelson is acknowledging that a public option would address a lack of competition in the health insurance industry. The only problem is that, while public option supporters (including a majority of Americans) recognize that the need for the kind of competition that a public option would provide was triggered a loooong time ago, Nelson simply thinks that we haven’t reached that point yet.
I don’t know at what point exactly Ben Nelson would set the trigger to go off, but he is very clearly recognizing that a public option would solve this pesky lack-of-competition problem. As for when it ought to be triggered (be it years down the line or right friggin’ now), Nelson need only listen his own home-state supporter:
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