Public Option: Arguments for and against

by Karoli on February 23, 2010 · 3 comments

in News, Patients

With the introduction of President Obama’s blend of the House and Senate health care reform bills, there’s been a flurry of activity in the Netroots over the missing public option. Several groups are mobilizing for it at the same time that key Senators who supported it in the past are quietly leaving it on the table. Because it is still a cause of controversy and division, I think it’s worth listing the arguments for and against it in as objective a fashion as possible.

Arguments in favor

  1. A public option creates competition in the marketplace.
  2. A public option saves money.
  3. A public option puts downward pressure on premium costs.
  4. A public option establishes a framework for a national single payer system in the future.
  5. A public option gives individuals a choice not to fund commercial health insurance companies.

Arguments against

  1. A public option establishes a new government agency.
  2. A public option puts government in charge of making health decisions.
  3. A public option duplicates the Medicare framework already in place.
  4. A public option will be costly to initiate and manage.
  5. A public option may result in providers refusing to participate because of low payment rates.
  6. A public option may result in adverse selection; that is, where the oldest and sickest gravitate to the public plan, driving government costs up.

Within this framework, there are individual arguments to be made about whether each point is valid or not. My goal here was simply to list the primary arguments for and against and let the discussion flow from there.

Are there any I missed? Leave a comment and I’ll add to the list.

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