“If, somehow, the private market doesn’t respond the way that it’s supposed to [to other aspects of health care reform], then it would trigger a public option or a government-run option,” Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, “but only as a fail safe, backstop to the process. And when I say trigger ... I don’t mean a hair trigger. I mean a true trigger – one that would only apply if there isn’t the kind of competition in the business that we believe there would be.”
Fellow Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota appeared open to the use of a trigger but said she needs more information about what Nelson is proposing.
“I’d want to see what those triggers are, what the benchmarks are,” Klobuchar told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King. Klobuchar also said that she was concerned about the high costs of health insurance faced by many small businesses and self-employed individuals.
“Certainly it’s worth looking at,” Klobuchar said of possibly using a trigger to set up a public health insurance option three to five years after any health care reform bill is enacted. “But we have to push competition. We have to do a better job of putting some rules on the insurance companies.”
The use of a trigger to bring a government-run insurance option into the insurance market is a proposal currently under consideration by the White House. It’s an effort to win the support of Maine Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe, one of the three Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee’s so-called “Gang of Six” and the one who appears most open to reaching a compromise with the White House and congressional Democrats.