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THE Health Debate and the Proposed Insurance Exchange vs. The Public Option

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The present health reform bill would sail right through the House of Representatives right now if it had a "robust" Public Option provision that would guarantee "true" competition and price protection for millions of our "uninsured" American Citizens. These same citizens will soon be "mandated" to buy Health Insurance, no matter the cost.

Many of these potential uninsured Americans are now in a healthy age group who may not require any health services for many years to come, but who will soon be mandated by law to purchase insurance. It is therefore essential for all of the "uninsured" and also those who are now insured in this Nation to receive the lowest possible prices in regard to their monthly insurance premium rates that they may purchase for now or in the future.

On Thursday March 3, 2010, the President announced his final decision in regard to the pending Health Bill provisions now before the U.S. Congress, but unfortunately there was no Public Option Plan of any kind. This was a resounding disappointment not only for the millions of the Public Option supporters, but also for the Democratic Party, that could spell disaster for the Democratic Congressional Candidates. The President also announced his support on Health Care choices at his news briefing for the American People, but to the disappointment of many, the Public Option "choice" that 60% of our American Citizen's want, was not among these choices.

It is also regrettable that American Public Option Supporters were told by their elected officials in the past that they would have a "choice" in regard to any new health plan that they might desire during the 2008 election, but are now being denied their Single Payer, or Medicare for All, public option "choice" preferences.

In addition, it is also ironic that our present Democratic President has now confirmed that he will be accepting Republican "choices" in the present Healthcare Bill instead.Â

The public option supporters were also told by Democratic Congressional Leaders recently that if the Public Option provision was not in the final bill that it could be voted upon at some later date. This sounds promissing, but if the Democrats should lose control of both houses of Congress, public option will be officially dead. The best way to resolve this Public Option debate would be for the Senate to pass a robust Single Payer, or Medicare for All Public Option, provision plan into the present health reform bill -- and then vote this plan into law by utilizing the reconciliation 51 vote majority rule. By using reconciliation, the Republicans cannot stonewall and this will unify the entire Democratic Party for now and the future.

The February 25, 2010 so-called bipartisan Health Summit revealed that there would be at least "one" State Health Insurance Exchange that would be made available to the public as a "non-profit" health insurance source that might provide lower insurance rates as a means to promote competition in the health insurance marketplace. This State Health Insurance Exchange provision sounds great, but what the Health Debate Panel failed to reveal to the American Public was that this "non-profit" insurance exchange is already established in this nation as a Health Insurance "CO-OP" that has been operating for at least the past fifty years. Yet, this exchange has failed to produce competition or contain the monthly insurance premium costs charged by the for-profit health insurance companies.

In addition, the Health Debate Panel also did not tell the American People that these private "non-profit" CO-OP'S are presently doing business in only five States -- and that a majority of these private CO-OP health insurance groups are primarily located within small "rural communities" where health insurance competition is practically nonexistent. In addition, it would take many years and many dollars to expand these proposed "non-profit" CO-OP'S into each of the 50 States, and in the interim it would cost U.S. taxpayers more money and would also increase our present national debt in order to accomplish this task. In contrast to this Co-Op approach, the U.S. "medicare system" today is ready to go and will rapidly provide competition, as well as rate reductions, while protecting our lives.

Since we are now on the topic of competition and fairness, please consider this: The private or otherwise defined CO-OP Health Insurance State Exchange provision that the President now supports within the present Healthcare Bill provisions will not adequately provide "robust" competition or insurance price protection. In fact, this private CO-OP insurance State Exchange Commission is only designed to "monitor" insurance rates for public information purposes but does not possess the authority to enforce reductions. It is curious that no public official has come forward to fully explain the mechanism on how insurance rate increases will be contained or enforced, and to what extent, if any, the penalties will be in regard to any insurance company who may continue to price-gouge the American Public.

I also cannot understand how any State Insurance Exchange Commission would monitor any rate increases due to the fact that if one NATIONWIDE insurance firm increased their existing rates, any of the other competing insurance business firms - which number in the thousands - will simultaneously do the same, making it very difficult to pinpoint who the "original" violator was. This type of a marketing and pricing maneuver has been done by many corporations in the past; the most famous of them is the oil industry. It is therefore the assumption of the American People that the only way to provide credible competition and also control Health Costs in the future is through "direct" competition within the health insurance marketplace in the form of the "Medicare for All" Public Option Plan or through mandated and meaningful price controls that will provide a prison sentence in addition to violation fines.

Many of our citizens are now advocating that, if the Government should possess the authority to MANDATE that anyone should be required to purchase health insurance within the retail market place--then our Government should also have the authority to mandate pricing. The American People also believe that the insurance marketplace should not be in favor of the business sector only in regards to healthcare, since this is an absolute "necessity" for the American People.

In essence, it boils down to this: If our U.S. Government can control or regulate individual expenditures, then they should also have the authority to control the income of big business.

It is also inconceivable that there is such a thing as having too much competition in the market-place. The Healthcare of our American People is a necessity that should have top priority within the healthcare marketplace.
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Leon is, and always has been, a yellow dog Democrat. He is also a Korea War Veteran and is a retired 76 year old Senior Citizen. He has also been active within his State campaigning for various Democrat candidates during his younger years and has (more...)
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