Also last week, NPR's Julie Rovner ran a story that speaks for itself titled "Poll: Public Says Voice Not Heard In Health Debate".
A few things are clear. A substantial minority of Americans stand to lose a lot of money and power if meaningful health care reform of any sort becomes law. This substantial minority has a lot of money and power to lose. This substantial minority does not want to lose their money and power. This substantial minority will do what it can to protect their money and power. With the strength of a mandate, America supports a government-run health insurance system as a cornerstone of health care reform. Without a (federal or state-by-state) government-run health insurance system, the current health care reform measures are not enough to make substantial positive changes. The substantial minority knows all of these facts. The substantial minority is loudly and powerfully fighting the public option because without a government-run health insurance system, this substantial minority can continue to exploit the majority of the country.
As is often the case, the substantial minority is substantial largely because of their power, money, and organization. Although 3-4 times as many Americans want a government-run health insurance system than oppose one, the minority are organized, loud, motivated, and have money to throw around. We have the numbers, but they have the guns, so to speak. We need to rise up and bury this powerful, exploitative substantial minority.
We can worry about the visiting space aliens later.