Why Not A Public Plan?

OK, here I am on my insurance wagon again.  And I think that I’ve come a full 180 on one issue — public insurance.  I’m still not a fan of the “spin” many are putting on this program, but I’m beginning to think that a public insurance plan may be the least of the evils presently facing small business.

The biggest problem which I see is the rising cost of insurance.  It continues to create situations where employers have to be the decision makers about who gets insurance and what type.  The present bills introduced by Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi or Senator Harry Reid are really not going to help.  When you add nearly a Trillion dollars of costs into the system, and small business is NOT going to have any increased bargaining power, who do you think will end up holding the bag?  Yup, it’s going to be us.  Of more concern, it will be a double whammy for many professionals and owners since they’re considered wealthy.  Over time, because of income indexing, the burden of this system will fall on the backs of small business. 

So, let’s have a public insurance plan. 

In time it will force health care providers to either streamline their system, or shift pricing to the private plans to makeup for the losses.  When that happens and the large corporations, unions, and government employees start feeling the pain, we may see a situation where people start understanding that our existing system needs more than a facelift — and that having the government involved may not be such a panacea.

Putting regulations in place which do not address the key issues of cost control and forcing insurance providers to change the way they do business, while at the same time loading more costs into the system is going to be disastrous for small employers, who lack the bargaining power –or lobbying power — to make a difference.

So, call me a left wing radical and throw me to the wolves – but a public health insurance plan may be the dynamite that could blow up the logjam which is going to occur if we let things go forward without significant changes to the system.

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3 thoughts on “Why Not A Public Plan?

  1. OK you are a radical and need to be thrown to the wolves! LOL

    The merits of expanding health care for the millions of uninsured is laudatory Joe but a public option is not the solution – it will only drive the cost of care up while providing arguably worse coverage. We do need dynamite for the system but our economy is not in a position right now to take the blast.

    What we need is the ability for small business to pool resources and buy across state lines, have greater flexibility with health savings accounts and not be the source of all tax revenues. Pelosi may have won a small battle on Saturday evening but the war is far from over.

    Best,

    Michael Makin
    President & CEO
    Printing Industries of America

  2. I have to give you credit Joe, for your “the gloves are off” post, considering the prevailing views among the “party of business”. Kudos! I’m not ready yet myself to come out and solely endorse the public option, but you know, there may be something to the “trigger” option, as well as what Michael suggested by way of the freedom to shop across state lines, that might help create more “true” competition thus containing costs.

    With all due respect, Michael, I’d have to say that the argument as presented looks like a reiteration from the US Chamber of Commerce. Been there; done that; learned all too well that THEY ARE NOT US! (they are AIG, Chevron et al)

    Free marketers I believe see the word “free” and often mis-construe “free market” for “free profit”, when in reality we all know (and expect) that nothing is free.

    What we’re talking about here is the ongoing greatest transfer of wealth in the history of our nation, with the very old and the very poor already on government insurance, with a growing number of Boomers signing up for their benefits against a shrinking pool of those entering the workforce paying in. While I’d acknowledge the 13% number in terms of fraud/waste in Medicare, we might also consider the reality of the fraud, waste and abuse of those buying “free market” insurance whose cost has risen by up to 160% over the past few years for many small businesses, as well as the very real prospect of bankruptcy when their carrier exercises their rights to deny coverage or a policy at all.

    I think it an embarrassment that the richest nation on earth has allowed it’s government and corporations to treat its workforce and its people as profit centers instead of assets to be cultivated and nurtured. Whatever system is decided upon initially (perhaps a compromise–what a novel idea) had better have some flexibility to allow us to patch what clearly doesn’t work, and stick with what does; the bottom line being the strongest most productive workforce and people in the world.

    Anything less is just something that Eisenhower missed when he warned us of the dangers of the growing MILITARY industrial complex. Who would have ever thought that the MEDICAL industrial complex would be our ruination?

    • Sara, thanks for the well thought out comments. A point you brought up — which is so true — is President Eisenhower’s concerns about the military-industrial complex and how it is just as applicable to our medical-industrial complex. Now that the Senate has decided to take their bill to the floor, it should get very interesting through the end of the year. As it wasn’t already.

      jp

      [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

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