Public Health Plan
Liberal groups are waging a national grassroots campaign to demand that all Americans be given access to government-run public health insurance plans. They are also demanding lawmakers support a procedural tactic that would allow Senate passage of healthcare reform without any Republican votes.
Jacob Hacker in a new Institute for America’s Future report on the public health plan option says some proponents of the public plan option have described it as a first step towards a single- payer system. But the title of Hacker’s paper is “Healthy Competition” and the emphasis throughout is on how a public plan might co-exist with private competitors, each one improving the other, based on their varying strengths and weaknesses. He also emphasizes a point he, and other public plan advocates have made before: That a public plan is an essential backstop to private plans since, even with the best regulations, some private insurers might find ways to avoid covering sick people or addressing their needs properly. In other words, a public plan is essential to make sure private plans don’t keep conducting business the way many of them do now.
But it is on cost control where the advantages of a public plan are most apparent. It’s not just that public insurance plans operate with lower administration costs; it’s also that public plans have more bargaining leverage.
Source: Campaign for America’s Future, April 9, 2009