Friday, August 21, 2009

No Public Option Option Is Not an Option

Politico has the story here that House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer has opined that “The Public Option” may have to go in order to get a health care reform bill passed.

Offering this opinion, mind you, a day after Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that a health bill will not be passed without “The Public Option.”

Now opinions are like navels in that we all have them, but in this case there is a correct opinion and an incorrect one. “The Public Option” must never be eliminated from the bill.


And so why?

The whole idea of going after health care reform at this particular point in our history is to help to get us out of our economic morass: as health care costs keep going up and up health care insurance premiums go likewise. Driving up health care costs. An endless spiral. The whole idea here, is to reduce the cost of health care premiums.

If you put the federal government in a position to sell health insurance to its citizens, health care insurance firms will have to reduce their premiums to compete.

Because the Feds aren’t going to be in it for a profit. As a matter of fact, they will be in it for a loss.

The end game, in my opinion, is Single Payer Universal Health Care and that is why opponents are so shrill. The end game will take down a multi-billion dollar industry.

And it’s about time.

But short of the end game, when we are engaged in simply driving down health care premium rates, it becomes clear why “The Public Option” should be preferred over “Health care co-ops.”

The Co-op Option is not an option.

Simply because it doesn’t get the job done. If the job is to drive down health care premiums having a bill with only health care co-ops won’t reduce premiums.

Don’t believe me? The GAO, at the request of former congressman Thomas Bliley of Virginia, issued this 2000 report on the effectiveness of health care co-ops. The study looked at five separate “Healthmarts” that were created to serve as clearinghouses for small businesses seeking to get health insurance for their employees.

Their conclusion? Scroll down to the bottom of page 6. Here is what it says:

“The experiences to date of small employer purchasing cooperatives typically have not resulted in a third advantage, which is available to large employers: leverage in negotiating lower premiums. Officials of the purchasing cooperatives and participating insurers as well as several recent studies reported that cooperatives typically offer plans at market prices for plans with similar benefits offered to small employers outside the cooperative. This similarity in premiums is also reflected by rate quotations we obtained from several insurers. The cooperatives’ potential to reduce overall premiums is limited because (1) they lack sufficient leverage as a result of their limited market share; (2) the cooperatives have not been able to produce administrative cost savings for insurers; or (3) their state laws and regulations already restrict to differing degrees the amount insurerscan vary the premiums charged different groups purchasing the same health plan.”

So the question is, why pass a bill that doesn’t do what it was intended to do, and that is drive down health insurance premiums.

The GAO report revealed that co-ops won’t work.

Yes they enable small businesses to get health insurance for their employees, but at no cost savings at all. Not on the scale of what big businesses can negotiate for their employees.

No, the “No Public Option” option is not an option.

Without “The Public Option,” this bill, and any one like it, should be killed.

Maybe President Melia Obama will have better luck.


Anonymous said...

So the public option for health care will reduce health care cost?

I'm trying to think of good example where the government running something has resulted in lower costs (while maintaining any level of quality at all).

Help me think of some examples.

I've got one...the Postal Service?

Hal said...

Oh, that's right. Any government run enterprise is inefficient. That's why Americans will flock to a Federal health plan. That's why the health insurance industry is shaking in their boots if the Feds go into open competition against them.

If they were scoffing at the Federal challenge do you think they would be mounting such an herculean effort to oppose it?

Ask a senior citizen whether they want to give up their Medicare benefits because government run programs are so inefficient.

Anon, you have serious conflicting positions.

Anonymous said...

Are you claiming Medicare is efficient?

If Americans will flock to a government run health care program, why don't the Democrats pass it? Then the flock will vote for them, they get re-elected,...

What are the Democrats scared of? If those opposed to the current health care reform proposals are the minority, why not pass it?

Hal said...

Quite frankly, from the left, I have no idea what the fear is. This is very clearly something that a majority of Americans want.

It is either one of two things: Obama was stung by the reaction by the cap and trade push back, or, Obama is sitting and waiting. Waiting for the Republicans to soil themselves.

I rather like the second.

You guys have the low road on this issue. It amazes me that you continue not to realize that.

67% of Americans want health insurance reform. The confusion has been that those of us on the left think Obama has not made the case.

I, for one, am still waiting.

Anonymous said...

I want reform, but having experienced the efficiencies and effectiveness of Medicare, I'm not sold on a government-run solution.

Susan said...

I am on Medicare and I love it. Even thought I have a chronic illness, Medicare has never once denied any claim. It is far better than the private insurance I had before.

Anonymous said...

Glad you've had great experience with Medicare.

I've had serious illnesses lately and Medicare has been a nightmare.

Hal said...

I have had numerous conversations with Medicare recipients. I have never gotten from them a negative report. But more to the fact, I have never had a conversation with a Medicare recipient that wanted to give it back because of their discontent.

These people who are against Medicare need to step up. Unfortunately they won't because they are, to a man and a woman, scared about what they stand to lose. Because of the Republican hype.

Republicans have all glommed on to a tool they can use in every venue.


We have got to get over our fears in order to be truly free.

These fears are false. They are invented by the past administration. We are so much better than this.

Anonymous said...

If any of you have ever had the experience of being an agent of change within a "do nothing" group like in some church organizational groups, or some social organizations, or some nonprofit organizations whereby the Naysayer make it so difficult for an agent of change to infuse new productive ideas by turning every new ideas on its head and also being purposely non-participatory to kill the "new idea" because since they did nothing they want the change agent to fail because they are content to do nothing, and therefore do not want anyone else to do anything in working toward the greater good of accomplishments--it's the same scenario with the Republican whose only offering is dome and gloom--they like it that way; doing nothing and making no positive progress for the American people.

If Obama has stumbled any, it is due to the blinding, backlash of demonic negativity; negativity can run interference with positive, good karma and turn things upside-down.
Negative Naysayers know this; and, this is why they employ such tactics due to the success that "Evil” has had and can do in its penetration of “good things”.

Consequently, when Evil comes to steal, destroy, and kill, it can be an extremely oppressive force to deal with---that is why Obama is struggling in trying to bring good things to the American people. Furthermore, any waffling on the part of the Democrats can be the same as when you think you have the support of your friend; your posse; and then, suddenly when you look behind you, you have lost some, supposedly, friends and supporters along the way. In the fragility and fickleness of human nature and relationships, you will often find some that you thought were your friend, at crucial moments reveal themselves as not being your friend. Ironically enough, happening when you need them the most. Alas, surprise, surprise, they do not have your back as you previously believed.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember the Democrats scaring the elderly about how George Bush has going to eliminate Social Security? Fear is used by both sides.