My friend Daniel Marans is in Iowa covering New Jersey Democratic Senator Cory Booker’s bid for the Democratic nomination.
During an event there, Booker seems to be playing the same game as many other candidates, conflating a single-payer health care system where care is free at the point of service to every American who is covered by a single government system, and a public option that some Americans can voluntarily but into at yet-to-be-determined rates. (In 2009, the Congressional Budget Office anticipated just a paltry eleven two twelve million Americans would be part of a public option as then constructed in House legislation.)
There are arguments to be made for either system — either a single-payer program to cover everyone free of cost or a public option where some people choose to buy government insurance. But these are massively different policy options. Conflating them is a political move, and the news media should be more aggressive in forcing politicians to be honest about their preference. You can’t say maybe you’re for buying a house or maybe you’re for renting a condo. Those are different things. Pick one, and don’t try to have it both ways.