Question: "Mr. Deeds, and would you go against some of your fellow Democrats and against the public plan?"
Creigh Deeds: "I'm not afraid of going against my fellow Democrats when I think they're wrong...Public option isn't required in my view, I think we have to do two things with health care, we have to reduce costs so more people can afford insurance and we have to increase coverage. I share those broad goals. I don't think the public option is necessary in any plan and I think Virginia...I would certainly consider opting out if that were available to Virginia. We have to find ways to increase competition in order to reduce costs..."
First, not only is Creigh clearly wrong on this – no health care reform can possibly succeed without some form of government-provided health insurance that provides meaningful competition to drive the cost of health care down – I don’t get the political calculation.
Democrats should be championing the public option, not running away from it, for two reasons. First, it is clearly the right policy that will lead to providing affordable health care to the people who are most hurting now – middle class families. If, as Democrats, we are not all about supporting the middle class, then we are in the wrong party.
Now, far right-wingers have demonized the public option as government-run health care. Creigh’s answer seems to buy into this bogus criticism. No Democrat should buy into this. We are the party of using government to make the lives of people better.
Finally, this was a chance for Creigh to really draw a distinction with Bob McDonnell on a critical issue. By unequivocally stating he would opt Virginia out of the public option were it passed by Congress, Bob McDonnell is saying that he would damage the health of every man, woman and child in Virginia for the sake of his extreme right wing ideology. Further, McDonnell’s critique of the public option was merely a recitation of talking points that are in some cases dishonest and in others simply wrong, but that have been in both cases fully debunked. The bottom line is that the “private sector, market-based solution” is what got us in the mess we’re in.
What an opportunity to lead and teach folks on a key issue that would not only be right and moral, but would also tap into to modern populist history of the Democratic Party beginning with Franklin Roosevelt.
Instead, Creigh tried to hedge on this critical issue, in the hopes of picking up votes from people who are not going to support him anyway.
This was just a blown opportunity to redefine this race around a winning issue.