Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Health Care Reform: Debating the Public Option

After months of debate in the House and Senate over health reform, what is left to debate? The public options, of course.

The Public Option
The public option seems to be finally out of the bill. The House passed the Democrat-backed option. The Senate seems likely to drop it to get some bill to the floor for a vote.

I like the idea of a public option as competition between the private and public sectors. Many Republicans and some Democrats say it’s a bad idea. But what about the examples of the “public option” that are offered today:

  • Medicare for elders
  • Health care for members of the House and Senate
  • Health care for our armed forces

The irony of the Opposition
How many Representatives and Senators who are firmly opposed to you and me having a public option would voluntarily opt out of their public option and buy private insurance on the open market? When they put their personal health care on the line, maybe I’ll listen to their whining and talking points about the evils of public health care.

If it’s good enough for our Troops, isn’t it good enough for you and me?
Our brave men and women fighting overseas and supporting the effort worldwide get their health care from this same federal government. They have federally operated hospitals with doctors and nurses on the federal payroll. So, if it’s good enough for our brave troops, why is it bad for us?

But what will the reality be like?
The only problems with any health care program, be it private or public, are the complexity, the confusion, the paperwork, and the bureaucracy. I have to deal with Medicare and Medicaid as my mother is in a nursing home. It’s baffling and there’s no one to lead you through the maze of bureaucracy. So, my only fear with a public option is the same level of complexity that will make even its most ardent supporters cry for something easier.

So, would a public option be what we need to counter the money-making insurance companies? Is it inherently flawed? Or, is a good idea in theory, but once it makes it through the House and Senate. would it be so complex and full of red tape as to be not worth it?

1 comment:

  1. Last I had heard, the public option will be enacted on a state by state basis. A state would be allowed to opt out of the public option, though if it were to change it's mind it could enact it later. The only thing that I fear about the public option would be that if the Republicans were to ever attain majority rule again they might try to undermine it, like they did with Social Security. The conservatives in this country are not like the Conservative Party, in the United Kingdom, which has come to accept the National Health Service. And also of course, as a libertarian socialist, I would rather healthcare be administered by healthcare co-operatives, and/or free/community clinics.