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June 6, 2009

Health Care: Public Option Is A Must

-- by Dave Johnson

I just want to go on the record here that any health care reform must include a "public option." This is an option for insurance that comes from the government, not from for-profit companies. Without it there really is no "reform."

This is a deal-breaker: no public option, then no anything, and we keep trying to get health care that works for the public instead of just taking our money to benefit a few.

Conservatives like to say that government is inefficient, incompetent, cumbersome, wasteful and can't compete with "the private sector." But NOW they're suddenly all worried that private businesses can't compete with government. The ONLY reason there is consideration of continuing the failed, greedy, destructive corporate insurance system is because the few who get rich off of it are paying off politicians to keep things they way they are.

This is about providing what is best for the people, not about watching out for corporate interests and the profits that get funneled up to a few people at the top. If business can serve the people better than the people (government) can, let them prove it by including a public insurance option in the health care reform.

Posted by Dave Johnson at June 6, 2009 1:30 PM


Comments

A sperate public plan while keeping private insurance is a bad idea. We would be better off
doing nothing now, letting conditions get worse, and then getting an efficient plan later.

The main reason that it is far better to extend Medicare to everyone is cost. Private insurance companies waste about $400 Billion each year in high overhead and unnecessary requirements on physicians. There is another $100 Billion wasted on high drug prices to companies that spend 3 times as much on "marketing" as on R & D. This $500 Billion each year can be used to pay for the extension of Medicare to everyone.

If you simply add a public plan, you are leaving the $500 Billion on the Table. You are simply adding cost. This is just stupid.

In addition, there are tecnical reasons just adding a public plan is foolish. If it has to take everyone while private cos can pick and choose, it will wind up with another high risk pool--the sick and the poor. While the idea of creating another pool is bad, if it is a high risk pool, it will be very expensive. The Repubs will seize on this and progress will halt.

Also if it covers preexisting consitions, then it will greatly expand the pool of the self insured which is terrible from an efficiency point of view. After all, why pay premiums when you are well?

Finally as to the attidues of the public, if the magic word "Medicare" is mentioned in the questions, a huge majority is in favor of Medicare for All. Here is a question from a Washington Post - ABC poll:

"Which would you prefer: the current health insurance system in the United States, in which most people get their health insurance from private employers, but some people have no insurance, OR, a universal health insurance program, in which everyone is covered under a program like Medicare that's run by the government and financed by taxpayers?"

62% favored Medicare for All; 33% were opposed. That's pretty decisive. And this is with the facts suppressed. Other questions in the poll show that the 62% supporting the universal program mostly believe it will cost more when it will cost less. They believe they won't be able to pick their doctor when Medicare allows much more freedom than most private plans. They believe there will be long waiting times when this is a myth. And still they support a universal plan like Medicare for All by 2 to 1.

Posted by: Len Charlap [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 6, 2009 4:55 PM

I agree with Dave; public option is a must; what can be done to influence this?

Posted by: jay [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 8, 2009 9:07 PM

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