Strangely, the headline to this article doesn't characterize this development as a devastating blow to Republicans and opponents of health care reform the way every other report from the CBO has been characterized as a devastating blow to Democrats, even though it punctures one of the industry's central arguments against the public plan:
A new government health insurance plan sought by President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats could coexist with private insurers without driving them out of business, an analysis by nonpartisan budget experts suggests.
The estimate by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office — seen as good news by Democrats — comes as leaders pushed Monday to make progress on health care overhaul before lawmakers go home for their August recess.
I personally don't like insurance companies and I'd be happy if we had a system where they weren't necessary. But if they could be made to do their business in a fair and equitable manner, sell their products honestly and fulfill their obligations, then we could probably live with them. Rapacious greedheads making obscene profits on the backs of sick Americans, however, is an immoral and expensive arrangement that can't be tolerated any longer.
If strict regulation and competition from a public option would force insurance companies to participate in universal health care as decent corporate citizens then I won't complain. I also won't care if a public plan does end up driving out those which insist that spending billions in compensation to their CEOs is necessary but fulfilling the terms of their policies isn't. It's really up to them.
That's all a very big "if," of course. If the public plan turns out to be some half-baked co-op wet dream then it's unlikely to do much of anything; if it's designed to be (or become) like the Hacker plan, with a strong dose of Wyden, then it could. It's all about waiting for Baucus at this point.