The public Option. According to some, it is a cost-cutting measure where the strength of the plan and the power of government work to lower healthcare costs thus, through market competition, forcing other insurance providers to also lower their prices. According to others, it is a back door attempt to push through a government takeover of healthcare where government subsidies keep prices and costs below the market thus preventing other insurance providers from being able to compete and forcing them out of business. In a partial attempt to combat the latter idea, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has stated that they estimate such a public option would only receive about 12 million enrollees, far below any amount that could possibly lead to a government takeover, but doesn't that present another question?
If the public option will only attract about 12 million people and one of the stated goals of healthcare reform is universal coverage (we'll ignore for the moment the fact that not one of the plans on the table even claims to be coming close to this original goal) and the US population is roughly 300 million people ... Can anyone else do the math here? 12 million people isn't even a blip on the radar. The same figure used to defuse fears of a government takeover also clearly demonstrates that the public option wouldn't do a thing to cut costs. At that size it would be virtually invisible in the larger healthcare market. The only way a single provider could have a significant impact on overall pricing is if it were large enough to potentially take over the market. You can't have it both ways and government officials are talking out of both sides of their mouths hoping that people won't notice they are blatantly contradicting themselves. If there is no risk of government takeover through this plan then there is also no possibility of government price controls through this plan. The two are inextricably tied together.
What's most amusing about this, though, (aside from the lies and hypocrisy that are just par for the course) is that pro public option people keep talking about interjecting competition into the insurance market place? Inserting one provider is supposed to increase competition? Do you people know anything about business?
First of all, there is competition in the insurance marketplace. It's stifled, corrupt, and lame, but it's there. Adding a single provider to the mix will do absolutely nothing to increase that competition, even if that provider is the government. "But there are some states that only have one major insurance provider!" You're right. There are. And why is that? Because the law, as it currently exists blocks other providers from other states from entering those markets. If you are serious about increasing competition then strike down stupid laws that interfere with competition. No one on the left will talk about that possibility, though, because "increasing competition" is not really what they want. They're just using a catchphrase to try to lure people to their side. What they really care about is government force - they want the government to use its might to force prices down - but they can't say that because that would be a takeover and saying it would be admitting that the accusations from the other side are correct. The use of such concealing language, however, is an admission that they know they do not have the mandate they claim and they know that a significant percentage of the American population is opposed to the idea of a government takeover. Everything you say, even when you're lying, says something about you. Pay attention and you'll know what they think and why they're doing what they do.
We need reform, but nothing in that nonsense those idiots in DC are writing is about reform. Maybe it started out that way, but it's just political tug-of-war now. They're just trying to score points by looking like they're doing something without paying any attention to whether or not what they're doing is right. Business as usual. And you, the voting public, are eating it up like you always do. That's why it works. If a Democrat promises to spend money to fix a problem then democrats will cheer and vote for him without paying any attention to whether or not the fix was needed or whether or not the expense actually addressed the problem. If a Republican promises to block such an expenditure then republicans will cheer and vote for him without paying any attention to whether or not the fix was needed or whether or not the expense actually addresses the problem. Can you honestly not see what's wrong with this system? No, most of you can't, and that's exactly why we're in the mess we're in.