Conservative House Democrats agreed to a set of health care principles late last week that angered advocates of a overhaul of the health care system.
The Blue Dog Coalition issued a statement that said it would only support the public health care option as a fallback measure that would be triggered sometime down the road if private insurers don't meet a particular set of goals.
The backsliding took advocates of reform by surprise because 20 members of the coalition had previously signed a pledge expressing their support for a public option without a trigger. The statement was written and organized by the reform coalition Health Care for America Now (HCAN), which strongly opposes a trigger and sees it as an industry plot to strangle a public option in the crib.
Blue Dogs, by their charter, need two-thirds of their 51-member caucus to approve a position before it can be officially adopted. With 20 Blue Dogs backing a public option, they would be short several votes if everyone stuck to their pledge in the closed-door meeting.
A senior Blue Dog staffer, however, said that when the coalition first met to discuss the set of principles, they decided to stake out a negotiating position rather than draw a firm line
oh, well...less time spent playing activist within the party structure means more time to advocate without restrictions.