The Schumer Option: A Short-Term Winner

We still don’t know for sure what the final Senate health care plan will look like, but the most likely resolution to one of the stickiest issues has been obvious since early May. That’s when Chuck Schumer outlined his own compromise vision for an optional government-run insurance package. His proposal, a “level playing field” public option that would be subject to the same rules that govern private insurance plans, was vintage Schumer, reflecting his canny grasp of the various political calculations guiding his colleagues’ thinking. There’s a catch, though: For all of its present-day political savvy, Schumer’s solution poses a potential long-term political risk for Barack Obama and the Democrats if they do ultimately embrace it.