Opt out what?
The public option, as you probably know already, refers to the opportunity of choosing to purchase health insurance that is government managed. Under most versions of the bill, including the one Reid is likely to propose, the public option would only be made available to a small number of people - specifically those who do not have or who lose their employer provided health insurance.
It would be not for profit, but is not intended to lose money - in face most estimates say it would reduce the government's health care expenditure. These consumers will have the option of chosing from a range of health insurance options across a national exchange, most of which would be privately managed for-profit alternatives, but one of which would be public.
The what public option?
Opt out. The opt out version of the public option means that all states will be automatically enrolled, allowing them to offer the public option in their exchange. But some people (Republicans, mainly, but some nervous Democrats as well) are making a big fuss about their preference for removing the public option as a choice.
Under the plan now proposed, any state that for whatever reason doesn't want to offer this option can choose not to offer it. States will be automatically IN the program, in other words, but if they don't want to offer people in their state the alternative of purchasing health care in this way, then they can choose to prevent people from doing buying it.
Why would they do this?
Beats the heck out of me. But then I'm not the one who's going around complaining about the supposed budget busting effects of this privision, which the CBO and almost all experts agree would actually REDUCE the cost of health care and the Federal Government's liabilities in this area.
Who is doing that?
Well, for a start - Joe Lieberman.
What's Joe saying?
Tonight he came out with a statement that he would would support a Republican filibuster of the bill as it currently stands.
And that's bad?
Well, it's certainly frustrating considering that:
1) The reasons he says he won't support the public option are not actually factually true.
2) Voting to support the filibuster is not the same thing as voting against the bill. Leaving aside the stupidity of his opposition, he could easily choose to vote against the final bill without endangering its passage. But voting with the Republicans in support of a filibuster prevents the bill from even being voted on - this is a far higher standard.
3) Democrats are barely in control of the requisite number to end a filibuster, so it's unclear whether any bill could be passed if Joe and his ilk really dig in their heels on this procedural issue.
Why would Joe Lieberman do this?
Dunno? Cuz he's kind of a schmuck?