public health option

Nick Benton's Corner: Obama's Stand for the "Public Option"

Posted with permission of author, Nicholas Benton, owner/operatior of the Falls Church News Press

Just when many of his staunchest supporters were beginning to doubt his resolve, President Obama stood tall in front of the joint session of Congress last night to deliver what history will record as one of the most stirring, courageous and poignant speeches in the annals of the nation's history.

Robert Reich asks: How Tough is our President

Published with permission from Robert Reich.

Latest word from the White House is that the President still supports a public option but is also standing by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius's remark last weekend that a public insurance plan is "not the essential element" of health-care reform. So where, exactly, is the White House on the public option? Just about where it is on the question of whether it agreed with Big Pharma to bar Medicare from using its bargaining clout to get lower drug prices -- or didn't. In other words, we don't know.

Universal health care is President Obama's biggest issue, and he needs strong public support if he's going to overcome the vested money interests in Washington. Which brings us to the question of where the people who voted for Obama stand on all this.

Strong Public Option: 100% Coverage & Cost Control

For those who feel the need (I know, "it is the politically feasible thing to do") to keep the private for-profit insurance companies in business, and allow people to keep what they have if they prefer, but also offer the strongest version of public option, there has been a better bill available all along:

Representative Pete Stark's (chairman of the House Way and Means Health Subcommittee) H.R. 193, The Americare Health Insurance Act.

This proposal, unlike that of Obama/Baucus/Kennedy actually controls total costs while getting to truly 100% universal coverage, according to independent analysis by the Commonwealth Fund and Lewin Group.  It is public option on steroids and single payer lite: The gist is that is expanded and improved Medicare for all, but you can keep the health insurance you have if you prefer.  Unlike the public option proposals that the beltway insiders have decided to put forward, it really would be competetive with private insurance, and a chance to evolve into true single payer with the benefits therein.