Is a Public Option Necessary?

Do you think that a government-sponsored health insurance option is needed to help control rising costs and "keep insurers honest," as President Obama says?

Posted by Rachel Saslow on August 4, 2009 9:37 AM

Do Not Fear the Word 'Public'

Have you ever noticed that when "public" is used descriptively in conversation -- public school, public transportation, public (or county) hospital -- the quality of the item is called into question?

Posted by Chisara N. Asomugha, on August 7, 2009 7:43 PM

Consumers: "Give Us More Options!"

I work as the medical director of a community health center in Washington that treats a large number of patients who are HIV positive. A great deal of the Clinic's efforts for new patients are finding them health insurance coverage or other ways of paying for their medications. Health care should not be this difficult.

Posted by Raymond Martins, on August 7, 2009 6:08 PM

Public Plan? Surprise - We've Already Got One.

The truth is, we're already several decades into a public plan. And for millions of Americans already in the Medicare, Medicaid and Veterans Administration pipeline, the answer to the question is yes.

Posted by Doug Ulman, on August 7, 2009 2:29 PM

Umpire or Play Ball, Not Both

Our biggest public plan is Medicare and its rigid, wasteful, antiquated reimbursement structure rewards doctors for poking, prodding, cutting and slicing, but not for getting patients healthy or keeping them that way.

Posted by Robert F. Graboyes, on August 7, 2009 11:10 AM

Haven't We Learned Our Lesson?

A major answer to the health care dilemma is not imposing a public option but organizing care delivery into integrated systems and providing incentives so that people and organizations don't feel it necessary to "game the system" because the "rules" are conflicting and ambiguous.

Posted by Colleen Conway-Welch, on August 6, 2009 1:17 PM

The Only Option

Let's put this in perspective: Canadians and the British have enjoyed universal health care for over 50 years. To say that these plans aren't working after they have met the needs of a generation of people is laughable.

Posted by Kathy-Ellen Kups, on August 5, 2009 9:50 PM

Public Option: The House Always Wins

The concept of the "public option" ought to be modified to mean enhanced public oversight of the existing insurance industry -- not a new Trojan Horse that will lead, inevitably, to a stifling, bureaucratic, single-source insurer.

Posted by Raymond J. Zastrow, on August 5, 2009 12:41 AM

Separate and Unequal Rights

Though I am in no way a big government zealot, or naively misguided to think that government action will be flawless, on the other hand, I am not frightened by a public-private partnership.

Posted by Chris T. Pernell, on August 4, 2009 8:51 PM

Getting Everyone Covered Efficiently

The public option would allow us to start from scratch and create the ideal insurance program based on proven concepts.

Posted by Georges Benjamin, on August 4, 2009 2:42 PM

Lessons From Medicare and Medicaid

How will another government-managed option be better at building a health system that works for the 21st Century than the one we already have?

Posted by Peter Neupert, on August 4, 2009 1:21 PM

Get Results Through Legislation, Not a Public Plan

Instead of implementing a new insurance plan, the government can reach its desired results by introducing appropriate legislation that guides insurance coverage to more people in more cost-effective ways.

Posted by Linda Leckman, on August 4, 2009 12:56 PM

Everyone Wants a "Free Lunch"

I learned long ago that "there is no such thing as a free lunch." This wisdom seems to have been lost in the debate about the government-run health plan. At the heart of the debate is simple economics: how much coverage at what cost.

Posted by Mark Kelley, on August 4, 2009 12:55 PM

A Public Plan Is a Bad Idea

I cannot imagine that any public health plan operated under the same rules as a private insurance plan could be competitive.

Posted by Michael Critelli, on August 4, 2009 12:42 AM

Don't Take Delivery on a Pizza You Didn't Order

The public option is just a way for the government to "get its foot in the door," leading to a totally government-run system. Heaven help us all if that happens.

Posted by Sue Falkner Wood, on August 3, 2009 7:47 PM

"What's Good for the Goose..."

I like the idea of our legislators being the first to participate in the public option insurance plan. If our senators and representatives have issues with their coverage, they will be motivated to remedy those problems quickly.

Posted by Willarda Edwards, on August 3, 2009 3:19 PM

Competition Is Not the Answer

The health-care proposals suggested by President Obama may turn out to be more expensive than predicted. In the United Kingdom, we have a government-sponsored health-care system with spiraling costs. Attempts to introduce competition have led to cherry-picking by private companies...

Posted by Philip Dommett, on August 3, 2009 12:02 PM


lensch: In 1965 we introduced Medicare. Although the same crowd that now opposes Medicare for All predicted disaster, there were no serious problems...

sanscch: The system needs to be converted correctly - if you use Canada as an example, its all not for profit, and government controlled (not a mixed...

meperkins: The majority of Americans (over 50%) get their health insurance through a single payer, government run agency (Medicare. Medicaid, Veterans)...

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