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Obama's Health Care Endgame

Debate on the controversial Senate health care bill has begun and almost everyone has an opinion. Well, not everyone. Ironically, the administration has yet to go public with its views on what is arguably its most controversial principle in the plan: the public option. It’s a deal breaker for many Democrats in the middle – and even some on the left – and will ignite a civil war in the Senate for the left wing, as I’ve repeatedly predicted.

For months, administration officials have perpetuated the myth that a public option may be best hope when it comes to lowering costs and spurring competition among insurers. However, they’ve declined to say that a public option is a "must-have" piece of the legislation.

Budget Director Peter Orszag held a conference call with reporters last week to discuss what he referred to as the “four pillars” of a fiscally responsible health care reform bill – but the public option wasn’t even mentioned.

Why the crickets? Because there’s a good chance that’s it’s dead (we can only hope) and President Obama doesn’t want to marry himself to a losing component of the Senate's overhaul. But if it does pass, he’ll be the first to spike the football. Despite their suspicious silence, we know which team he's really on.

He has sent Senate leaders in to do his dirty work. Amid all this talk that a public option will spark competition, the end game is a single payer system and Obama, and the far left, know it.

“There is a transition process. I can envision a decade out, or 15 years out, or 20 years out,” Obama has said, referring to the possibility of eliminating employer insurance plans entirely.

This means that when they say you can keep your insurance if you like it, you really can’t. Many small business owners will be saddled with such high costs that they’ll force their employees into the government plan.

Senators Joe Lieberman (I) and Blanche Lincoln (D) are opposed to the public option and their votes are needed for passage. Senators Mary Landrieu (D) and Olympia Snowe (R) favor a trigger option.

Keep your eyes peeled for a compromise, but hope that it doesn’t involve the public option or the trigger. Remember the thing about triggers – if they don’t shoot you now, they’ll shoot you later.

Perhaps most ironic, is that the same week that the Senate begins debate on a costly health care restructuring, Obama will also deliver a prime time address to the nation on Tuesday outlining his plan for Afghanistan -- a strategy that will likely mean spending billions more dollars. Watch the liberals howl about cost when it comes to rooting out the Taliban and preventing another attack on American soil, but adding trillions to the national credit card for a government run health care plan? Hey, it's an investment, no matter how unhealthy it is for our fiscal state. -- Oh, the irony.

What could be healthier than the safety of our nation?

Andrea Tantaros is a conservative columnist and FoxNews.com contributor.

Andrea Tantaros currently serves as co-host of Fox News Channel's The Five (weekdays 5-6 PM/ET). She joined the network as a contributor in 2010. Follow her on Twitter @andreatantaros or on Facebook.com/andreatantaros. Click here for more information on Andrea Tantaros