Public Option? I Thought We Settled That Already

Another Reason I Can’t Stand Hillary Clinton

Yesterday Politico reported that Hillary Clinton is renewing her support for the public option as part of her healthcare platform. As a progressive, this is supposed to make me happy as the public option provides a stronger safety net than the Affordable Care Act, while reducing corporate control over the industry. I’m not happy, though, because I had considered this to be a won battle. Support for the public option has been a mandatory position for mainstream Democrats since the original Affordable Care Act debates. Clinton herself supported it during her 2008 campaign. I don’t understand why I should feel grateful that Clinton supports a policy that so obviously aligns with the Democratic party platform.

I felt the same way in September when Clinton announced her opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline. At the time of the announcement, it was considered to be a great victory for progressives. For me, it was just another reminder that Hillary Clinton doesn’t represent my values. President Obama put the brakes on the pipeline project back in 2012. Stopping the pipeline is the single most important issue for environmental activists in the party, driving fundraising and providing a key focal point for organization. The fact that it took Clinton so long to announce her opposition to the project showed how far outside Democratic party norms she is.

Yesterday’s announcement on the public option makes me wonder what other widely accepted progressive ideas lack Clinton’s support. Is cutting taxes for the wealthy back on the table? Do we have to re-negotiate Dodd-Frank regulations? What is Clinton going to agree to in the name political expediency? Democrats deserve a nominee who will support their causes. Clinton’s reluctance to do so is one of the main forces steering voters towards Sanders.