A government-sponsored “public option” for health care lives, though it may be more attractive to skeptics if it goes by a different moniker, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday.
In an appearance at a Florida senior center, the Democratic leader referred to the so-called public option as “the consumer option.” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., appeared by Pelosi’s side and used the term “competitive option.”
Both suggested new terminology might get them past any lingering doubts among the public—or consumers or competitors.
Robert Samuelson has a re-branding for it:
The promise of the public plan is a mirage. Its political brilliance is to use free-market rhetoric (more “choice” and “competition”) to expand government power. But why would a plan tied to Medicare control health spending, when Medicare hasn’t? From 1970 to 2007, Medicare spending per beneficiary rose 9.2 percent annually compared to the 10.4 percent of private insurers — and the small difference partly reflects cost shifting. Congress periodically improves Medicare benefits, and there’s a limit to how much squeezing reimbursement rates can check costs. Doctors and hospitals already complain that low payments limit services or discourage physicians from taking Medicare patients.
Even Hacker concedes that without reimbursement rates close to Medicare’s, the public plan would founder. If it had to “negotiate rates directly with providers” — do what private insurers do — the public plan could have “a very hard time” making inroads, he writes. Hacker opposes such weakened versions of the public plan.
Mirage is pretty good. Read the whole thing. It’s important to understand that the “public option” is the invention of a political scientist. Not an economist, not a medical specialist.
A political scientist.
We here at the Crabitat have several favorite expressions for health care “reform” in general and for the “public option specifically. There’s “government waste”, “bureaucracy run amok”, “crap” and a host of others that won’t pass the standards we try to keep here.
So we’ll go with a clarification of Samuelson’s term. It is not precisely a mirage.
It is more properly a fraud.
Get calling folks. Stop this before it stops our economy.