A moment of choosing is fast approaching for Barack Obama and his party’s congressional leaders: to sacrifice the public option that the Democratic base holds so dear, or to stick with it, damn the consequences. Their decision looms as the difference between (almost) sure-thing passage of a compromise health care plan and an ugly, protracted legislative fight that could end up sinking all hopes of meaningful health care reform and severely wounding Obama. But if that makes the choice sound easy, it’s not. The creation of a government-run health insurance alternative for Americans is, to many of Obama’s most ardent supporters, in Congress and outside of it, the whole point of passing health care reform.
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