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Friday, September 4, 2009

A Rose By Any Other Name...

...Is still a public option.

With health care reform now flailing the President is weighing his options. There are those that say that he may give up the public option for an alternative. We'll all wait and see, but, make no mistake, any government involvement is still a public option, and all public options will lead to single payer health care.

There are two options that are most prominent. The first is the so called non profit co op option. This is of course a totally absurd alternative. There are already dozens of co ops, non profit and for profit. There needs to be no new law to create co ops. So, this co op won't be like all co ops. This one will be started by the federal government. As such, it will have the full weight and power of the federal government behind it.

The problem with any public option is that an option with the government's backing is wholly unfair. The government can print money, raise taxes, or borrow with no end. Private insurance companies can't do that. So, whether you call it a public option or a co op started and run by the government, it has the same very corrosive characteristic that will help lead us to single payer. The co op is no different that the public option. It's just dressing the public option, which has become poisonous, and calling it something else.

The other potential option is a public option with a so called trigger. By this, there will be a trigger if insurance rates go too high. Think about this. The new bill will have all sorts of new mandates for insurance companies like forcing people to take on those with pre existing conditions. So, insurance companies will be forced to take on all sorts of new people that they will need to insurance. Most of these will present a much larger insurance risk. Then, there will also be a so called "trigger" for the public option. So, after they take on more risk, if they also raise their rates, then there will be a public option. Doesn't that sound like the insurance companies are set up to fail?

Of course, the so called trigger will really come down to the cliche, the devil is in the detail. For instance, will it account for inflation? If it doesn't, the trigger will be hit eventually. Really, it will come down to who is designing the trigger. If the trigger is designed by someone who's agenda is to make sure that insurance companies simply don't go out of control then that's one thing. If, on the other hand, it's designed simply to trigger the public option, then that's quite another. Who do we think will design it? It won't be Senator Jim DeMint that's for sure. It will be a Democratic leader. It will be Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, or Barney Frank. So, what sort of a trigger will we have?

It's pretty simple. Either we have a private market, or a public market. There's never been a successful hybrid. Those either get perverted like Fannie/Freddie, or they will just turn public. Call a public option what you want. Ultimately, it's still the same thing...a trojan horse for single payer.

2 comments:

libhom said...

The trigger will do nothing to save the lives of people denied care by HMOs.

Anonymous said...

Mike, one issue that hasn't been covered during the health insurance reform effort is the effect it may have on investments.

It is my understanding that the health insurance industry is a big player, they invest a lot of money in the stock market. I may be wrong, though.

If there is a big movement to go the public option route and private health insurance companies shrink, it seems that this would cause a big hit to the investment industry, further reducing monies that are available for loans.

Am I off base or is this an issue?

Lonzo