Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Public Option Will Save You Money and the Government

There's tons of focus on government costs associated with the health care bill. However, lost in the argument is cost to individuals, which is probably the more relevant question to most Americans. There's good news on both fronts: According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the Public Option will save you 10% over private options and the government $110 billion over 10 years (more than 10% of the likely cost).

However, there's also bad news: If Congress passes the watered-down public option, it only saves $25 billion for the government and nothing for you. In fact, it very likely will cost you more -- up to $1,000 a year more. To make up that $85 million in lost savings, the government would likely be forced to reduce subsidies for those who would need help affording coverage -- a figure that would average out to $1,000 more per person, especially for those who are at the margins of being subsidized.


Paul Burke said...

If you think the insurance companies are going to voluntarily lower our costs and their profits and their million dollar wages while having a monopoly over the process – well I’ve got a bridge to sell you …and I think Wall Street should be completely unregulated I trust strangers with my money, and pollution is good and airbags should be removed from all our cars.

Our market systems depend and thrive on competition; unregulated markets are a vicious roller coaster ride of boom, bubble and bust. The winner takes all mentality doesn’t take into account the whole system that’s what governments are for. The pure free market system is a myth. It doesn’t exist and as an economic model is anarchy.

At the end of the day vote your pocket book. Don't take up millionaire strangers causes as if they were your own. They have plenty of paid voices lobbying for them. Keep your eye on what is best for you and your family and the Country will be fine.

Paul Burke
Author-Journey Home

Anonymous said...

Im from the Government and I'm here to help. The government fucks up EVERYTHING it touches. Thats a fact.

Ryan said...


How would you get from point A to point B without our government's roads and bridges? Your statement is just asinine.

Paul, I don't disagree with you necessarily, but it's important to remember the health insurance industry stands to make hundreds of millions if we reform health care -- people a lot more people will get health care and many of them will choose private options, subsidized by the government. We have the house and we have a majority of votes in the Senate. Reconciliation will get us through.

Anonymous said...

Ryan the roads and bridges retort may not be the best one to use, look at what the government did with the Mass Pike. When the bonds are paid, the road is free.

Anonymous said...

Asinine? The government fucks up everything it touches. Everything!

Anonymous said...

I'm just wondering if any of these projections take into account the eventual demise of the private plans. My company pays health insurance, if there is a public plan they may drop coverage. I won't be able to "keep the plan you're happy with". My company may have to pay a fine for dropping coverage, but with less overhead I bet paying the fine is still lower than paying for coverage. Then when this continues to happen you'll eventually get the single payer system you've wanted all along.

Anonymous said...

Then from a managers perspective, I will offer a company health plan but it will cover little and have high deductibles. My company is off the hook for not offering a plan, but people will go with the government plan cause it's better and I won't have to be penalized because I do have a plan.

Ryan said...

Anon 6:41,

"Im from the Government and I'm here to help. The government fucks up EVERYTHING it touches. Thats a fact."

No -- that's tribalism and blind faith in a religious ideology. Anything "big," be it government or giant corporations, is going to screw up a lot. Government happens to get a lot right and is able to do so efficiently, because it doesn't need profits. This becomes important when the public good is concerned -- things that make society operate. That's why we have public roads and schools, but not public car companies.

Anon 10:28,

The proposed health care bills do not allow companies to drop their coverage in favor of the public option. Believe me, I wish they did! If the public option is overwhelmingly successful and illustrates to the public the need for expansion of the program (due to popular support and demand), THEN, a decade or two down the line, single payer may come to pass -- but it would only happen because of public support. But that's okay, because this is a democracy, after all.

Anon 12:06,

"My company is off the hook for not offering a plan, but people will go with the government plan cause it's better and I won't have to be penalized because I do have a plan."

Plenty of companies do that now *without* the penalties. We are spoiled in Massachusetts because our state *makes* the industry cover a strong basis of care. Most other states don't and offer next to no protections for consumers, so they're all much worse off.

That said, the current proposals DON'T LET people drop their employee based health plans and get the public option, from what I've been reading. So, while I (again) wish what a commenter was saying was true, it sadly is not.

Anonymous said...

You can't stop these companies from dropping their plans. They can do it now, then the public plan will be the only real option available. They can have a pseudo plan in place ($ 250 dollar office visits - $15,000 dollar deductibles) which will be worse than a public plan, but won't have to pay penalties for not having a plan at all. So in essence they won't be "dropping their plan", just making it so horrible even a public plan is better.

You keep touting the governments ability to spend our money wisely and create a better world through competency, we aren't that far removed from the " Big Dig ", how did that go?
And why not limit this to kids, infancy to high school. You can demonstrate the marvelous efficiencies of government, then I won't have to pay so many taxes.

Anonymous said...

Ryan we do have public car companies, remember we own GM.

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