For the usual spineless reasons, senators like John Kerry and others floated support for a trigger mechanism for the public option, which would basically crowbar a 10 year waiting period into the law before the public option would take effect.
And now, the only Republican to support the public option thinks a trigger is an awesome idea.
This idea sort of came and went a few weeks ago, but some legislators just can't let it go. According to the Associated Press, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME)--a potentially key moderate on the Senate Finance Committee--hasn't forsworn signing on to a health reform bill that includes a public option. But she's holding out to see it affixed to a "trigger mechanism," which would, in theory, give insurance companies a years-long window to lower costs on their own and only "trigger" the public option if they failed to do so.
So Senator Snowe was ready to support the public option, but now with this trigger talk, it looks like her support is now contingent upon this craptastical idea.