Snowe kills public option has a sharp analysis of Olympia Snowe's proposal for a "trigger," which she has painted as a compromise on the public-option debate for healthcare reform. The basic idea is that Snowe wants to give the insurance companies one last, real, final, we-swear-no-more-after-this, no-backs chance to provide competition in the marketplace. And if they don't, then we get a public option to give them competition.

Sounds good, but has spotted the loophole Snowe is exploiting to both appear open to a public option and to kill it, at the same time.

Specifically, Snowe's trigger would be activated if more than five percent of a state's residents do not have access to a health-insurance option that would cost, out-of-pocket, less than 13 percent of that person's income.

But another provision, taken in tandem, would mean that at no point ever could a person's health-insurance program cost more than 12 percent of a person's income - any cost above that would be borne by taxpayers in the form of a subsidy.

Since nobody could find a plan that would ever cost them more than 12 percent of income, there would never be a situation where anyone (much less five percent of a state's population) would have to pay 13 percent out-of-pocket. And the trigger would never be activated, and the public option would be dead.

You know what to do.

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