Just like a bad penny, the public option plan keeps coming back. As health-care reform moves toward a Senate vote, the plan is not part of legislation on the table. But don’t count this controversial measure out.
Competition usually benefits consumers. But a federally subsidized public plan would soon price insurers out of the market. That would make the public option the only option for the millions of uninsured and under-insured Americans who would be funneled into it.
The public plan would mean fewer choices for consumers and the prospect of substandard, rationed care. It would leave hospitals and doctors with less funding to pursue the innovation and treatment advances that make our health-care system one of the best in the world.
To date, the public option has been written in and out of a dozen versions of reform legislation. Some lawmakers see it as a must-have, while others have made it a deal-breaker. For still others it’s a bargaining chip to win concessions and ensure that a health care reform bill reaches the president’s desk.
There have been, and will continue to be efforts to scuttle the public plan option and pursue health care reform that Americans want and deserve. What we need is for Congress to take a step back and discuss viable reform options in place of speeding to get a bill passed.