Sunday, November 01, 2009

The Public Option Induces Mood Swings. Only 2% Covered.

WASHINGTON — What's all the fuss about? After all the noise over Democrats' push for a government insurance plan to compete with private carriers, coverage numbers are finally in: Two percent. That's the estimated share of Americans younger than 65 who'd sign up for the public option plan under the health care bill that Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is steering toward House approval. 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.

The latest look at the public option comes from the Congressional Budget Office, the nonpartisan economic analysts for lawmakers. It found that the scaled back government plan in the House bill wouldn't overtake private health insurance. To the contrary, it might help the insurers a little. 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.

TPJ: I have a hard enough time dealing with the mood swings from my Bipolar disorder. The swings in emotion I have toward the public option are only adding to my mental exhaustion. One day I'm in full support of the public option and the next day I think it isn't strong, robust or universal enough. Initially I came out in support of the latest version that has come out of the House despite it being somewhat watered down. I thought it was better than nothing and a decent starting point to add to later on. Now, hearing it will only cover 2% I'm leaning back toward it being worse than better and in favor of voting against it. A small pool of sick, elderly and dying people would likely make up most of the people using the public option, which would make it harder to negotiate cheaper prices and keep premiums down. I really don't understand how increasing the number of people who can buy into the public option would cost more because it seems that the larger pool of people should help defray a lot of the costs.

So considering all of this I am at a point where I think perhaps it is better to pull the plug on the public option than risk a weak plan being passed only to fail. Thus giving critics of universal health care ammunition against trying again in the near future. I'm all for health care reform but I'd rather see nothing than something that goes in the wrong direction and ends up helping the insurance industry more than the people. So I'm leaning now toward lobbying the liberals in both houses of Congress to vote against this weak bill if it remains in its present form. It makes me sad to say this but I'm with Rep. Kucinich that this bill is far from the best that we can do.

In fact it's not even adequate. It represents a failure of leadership and courage. As well as a total disregard for their main function and duty as leaders -- represent the people first before you concern yourself with re-election. The thirst for power for nothing more than for powers sake is a perversion of the role of public service. If they can't put the health care of America ahead of their personal ambitions then they should be tossed from Congress. Republican OR Democrat.

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(O)CT(O)PUS said...

Truth be told, I share your disappointment. Maybe what I am really feeling is a sense of betrayal, like we have been sold out. Worst part of the bill: The major provisions won't even take effect until 2020.

Maybe we should refocus our efforts on campaign financial reform (again) with an emphasis on booting all special interest groups out of Washington. Then, and only then, the politicians might start noticing us.

They call him James Ure said...


Betrayal is a good word to use and I'm all about campaign finance reform. It's the only way to keep parties honest. That's why I have that "Clean Up Washington" button at the top of the blog. I'm totally with you on that.

I don't want to kill of moderates like the Republicans are doing. However, on the specific health care I don't bend much.

libhom said...

If this passes, we need to fight like heck to fix it before it goes into effect in a few years.