Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Kudos to Harry Reid for Including Public Option in Proposed Health Care Bill

Yesterday's announcement by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that he will include a government-run insurance plan (a public-option) in the health care bill that will now be debated in the Senate is excellent news.

Contrary to naysayers' arguments, including a public option does nothing to limit the ability of private insurers to compete - unless by "competition" one means the ability to impose unfair conditions on customers because they have nowhere else to turn under the current oligarchy.

The bottom-line is that a government-run public option would keep the private insurers honest, resulting in better, less expensive coverage for all.

Now the Democrats need to put aside their differences to get behind and pass a plan with the public option. One interesting aspect of Reid's proposal would allow individual states to "opt-out," & refuse to participate in the public option - a perfectly reasonable provision that respects America's federalist structure. This could lead to a very interesting side-show in the states - how many citizens would vote with their feet and leave states that opted out??

Sure, it would be nice if a Republican or two (or even more) would take off their partisan blinders for a moment and consider what Americans truly want and need instead of playing the same old politics, but given the experience of the recent past we won't hold our breath - so now it's up to the Senate Democrats to do the right thing and pass this bill.