Liveblogging: Public option like a state college?

The president offers the smartest analogy the White House has mustered yet to defend the public option

Published September 10, 2009 12:34AM (EDT)

There's no reason to be afraid of a public health insurance option -- unless you're also afraid of public colleges and universities.

Or at least, that was the analogy President Obama drew in defending the public option in tonight's speech: "It would also keep pressure on private insurers to keep their policies affordable and treat their customers better, the same way public colleges and universities provide additional choice and competition to students without in any way inhibiting a vibrant system of private colleges and universities."

It was a far better metaphor than the one he's used earlier this summer, comparing the public option to the Postal Service and private insurers to FedEx and UPS. (For one thing, the post office might conjure up visions of long waits for service.) So many Americans have attended public colleges that it's hard for opponents to say they don't do exactly what Obama said they do -- provide an alternative, without inhibiting private colleges.

If advocates for the public option are smart, you might be hearing this comparison a lot in the next few days.

By Mike Madden

Mike Madden is Salon's Washington correspondent. A complete listing of his articles is here. Follow him on Twitter here.

MORE FROM Mike Madden

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Barack Obama Healthcare Reform U.s. House Of Representatives U.s. Senate War Room