Insurance companies oppose a public option in a healthcare reform bill but insist that they do not fear competition. They say that with over 1,300 companies offering health insurance that there is competition enough to "keep them honest". Clearly, the competition that they engage in is not enough to keep them anything like honest so far.
In fact, the health insurance market is lacking in competitiveness to the point that in most states, two or three companies write seventy percent or more of the business. They also tend to overlook the fact that many of those 1,300 insurance companies, providing the vibrant competition in the health insurance market, are owned by other companies in the same market.
And the great granddaddy competition buster of them all is that they are exempted from compliance with anti-trust laws, making collusion on markets and rates absolutely legal for them!
The only other industry in the country that enjoys a similar exemption is Major League Baseball.
We must insist to these insurance companies that we will see enhanced competition in the health insurance market on our terms. We may accomplish it with what is currently called the "public option", or alternatively, the public may opt to rescind the industry's exemption from compliance with anti-trust laws.
The latter measure, coupled with vigorously conscientious enforcement, would possibly provide enough in fines to finance a move to a single payer system.
In any event, we need a representative with the requisite balls and independence to have this legislation in the can and ready to push if the public option again starts to look too shaky.Let's get loud about our other public option. The worst it can do is split their propaganda writers and subsidized liars into two squads, hopefully diluting their effect. Of course, I'm eagerly open to other suggestions to further dilute opposition resources.