When The Huffington Post is having doubts about the new Pelosi-Reid Public Option healthcare Bill, you know there’s trouble in paradise. The major complaint: Not enough people are covered. Heck; almost no new people are covered!
The underwhelming statistic is raising questions about whether the government plan will be the iron-fisted competitor that private insurers warn will shut them down or a niche operator that becomes a haven for patients with health insurance horror stories.
Some experts are wondering if lawmakers have wasted too much time arguing about the public plan, giving short shrift to basics such as ensuring that new coverage will be affordable.
My guess? Yeah, they Have.
The budget office estimated that about 6 million people would sign up for the public option in 2019, when the House bill is fully phased in. That represents about 2 percent of a total of 282 million Americans under age 65. (Older people are covered through Medicare.)
The overwhelming majority of the population would remain in private health insurance plans sponsored by employers. Others, mainly low-income people, would be covered through an expanded Medicaid program.
To be fair, most people would not have access to the new public plan. Under the House bill, it would be offered through new insurance exchanges open only to those who buy coverage on their own or work for small companies. Yet even within that pool of 30 million people, only 1-in-5 would take the public option.
The budget office said “a less healthy pool of enrollees” would probably be attracted to the public option, drawn by the prospect of looser rules on access to specialists and medical services.
As a result, premiums in the public plan would be higher than the average for private plans. That could nudge healthy middle-class workers and their families to sign up for private plans.
So it wouldn’t be available to most people, would be more expensive than anyone thinks, and pretty much everyone that has either private insurance or Medicare would keep what insurance they have, right?
So what’s the point?
Ben Stein said on the Saturday Morning Fox Block yesterday that it would be cheaper just to cut checks to the poor to buy their own health insurance than to fund this bleeding monstrosity of “Public Option” insurance.
So why do we persist in this madness?
Because the Public Option is what my grandmother would call a Tar Baby; a Chinese Finger Puzzle; an inescapable trap. Once we’re in it, it’s impossible to get back out. Once we’re in it, the government plan would undercut privae insurance and make it unprofitable for them to stay in business, and eventually we’d be left with only one option; the Public Option.
And when th government is paying for their Health Insurance, the government is can tell you the public, that you’re doing “unhealthy” things that are driing up the cost of Health Insurance — like smoking.
Or eating meat.
Or not eating enough tofu; or any one of a thousand things that are politically correct, if not necessarily correct medically.
THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is our future, if we pass the Public option.
Call your damned legislators — or get used to this lady telling you what to do.