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Mon Jul 15, 2019, 09:02 AM

Think twice when you hear the words 'public option' health insurance [View all]

By Ed Weisbart, M.D.
St. Louis Post Dispatch, July 5, 2019

Shhh! Donít tell the insurance companies (itís a secret).

Thatís the logic of the presidential candidates who are pushing a ďpublic option,Ē also known as Medicare for Those Who Want It. They claim that adding a Medicare-like option onto the health insurance marketplace is an easier political lift than real Medicare for All, and that such an option would thrive in the free market and open the door for Medicare for All. Then the insurance industry would admit defeat and quietly ride off into the sunset, finally achieving what should have been done in the first place.

The fact that the insurance industry is lobbying hard for this circuitous incremental approach should tell you all you need to know.

Sadly, many of us donít understand the choice weíre being offered. That helps them sell the idea that having more options is always better. Itís true that we need free choice of doctors and hospitals, but insurance should disappear into the background. Thatís what would happen with Medicare for All; thatís not what would happen with a public option, and the difference is all-important.

We could spend the next few years passing a public option and then wait several more years to see how it works. Ten years later, we would still be playing catch-up with the rest of the industrialized world, where health care costs half of what it does here in America and yet produces dramatically better results.

Why isnít a public option good enough?

First, itís missing nearly all the savings of a single-payer system. Health care insurance companies operate at 15% to 20% overhead; Medicareís overhead is 2%. We will never reach Medicareís efficiency by keeping todayís complex insurance industry in the mix. Never. Plus, the insurance companiesí inefficiency ó as high as it is ó is dwarfed by the untold time and money patients, doctors and hospitals waste in dealing with those companies.


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Reply Think twice when you hear the words 'public option' health insurance [View all]
BeckyDem Jul 2019 OP
democratisphere Jul 2019 #1
BeckyDem Jul 2019 #2
qazplm135 Jul 2019 #3
democratisphere Jul 2019 #4
qazplm135 Jul 2019 #5
democratisphere Jul 2019 #6
qazplm135 Jul 2019 #7
Martin Eden Jul 2019 #8
Marcuse Jul 2019 #9