I'm going to go out on a limb right now and predict something: There will be a health care bill passed before the end of the year and it will include a public option.
President Obama is a savvy politician-- probably the best that Washington has seen in two generations. He's also really, really smart and really, really patient when he has to be.
Everyone is crying right now because the White House hasn't presented a bill and the President has not spoken out to draw a line in the sand, letting legislators know what he will and won't sign off on. This is deliberate. The minute he puts a nail down, he provides the opposition with something to hang their hat on. He's not going to give them any help.
Also, by letting things play out, he's letting public opinion (a) form and (b) get back to the individual legislators, each of whom is primarily concerned with getting re-elected.
I agree that to some degree he has pulled a "take-away" on the public option, a car sales technique where the salesman tells the customer, who is drooling over the high-option vehicle but whining about the price, "Well, it's a shame you can't afford this beautiful Cadillac with the sun roof, leather seats, GPS and satellite radio. Let's go look at something in your price range-- I've got a some economy cars with cloth seats and crank windows."
Congress is now the husband who has to go back and tell the wife (the public) why he is jeopardizing the purchase of the Cadillac that SHE has fallen in love with. She's reminding him that they just bought a new, tricked-out truck for him and a bass boat last year, and he wants her to settle for a Chevy Cavalier? And what about that fishing trip you paid for last year and took three of your friends on?
No husband ever wants to have that conversation, and every husband knows how it will end: She'll get her Cadillac. She may have to compromise and get the 22" rims instead of the 24s and she may let the GPS go but keep the satellite radio, but she will have her Caddy.
I just wish the Dems were smarter about controlling terminology. Stop calling it a "public option" and call it a "nonprofit option."