What Happened to the Public Option?

Dear Fellow Democrats, Let me start out by claiming my naivety.

In the Spring of 2010, I ventured out of Provo to Washington DC to intern in Senator Barbara Boxer's office. If you'll recall, the debate over the Affordable Care Act was raging. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid were coming up with parliamentary tricks and tools to get it passed no matter what. "Deem and Pass" and "reconciliation" were the buzz words around town.

However, just a few months earlier, democrats had conceded a major piece of their healthcare legislation platform, the public option. The idea was that the government would offer its own insurance plans to the public, probably based off of expanded medicare or medicaid in the hopes of increasing price competition and driving down costs. This was not a new idea. It was a part of the Clinton's push for reform. It is a pretty essential piece of helping people who live in markets where there is little or no competition.

When I graduated a year later, I did not have a job that offered health insurance. I picked up a private plan but my only options in Utah were Select Health or Humana. Each of them wanted to charge over $150 a month for a pretty basic plan for a very healthy 22 year old. It would have been nice to see a little competition.

Therefore, Democrats, I ask you to please not give up the fight for a public option. Since ACA passed, prices have fallen in certain markets, but competition has not increased. Insurance companies still dictate prices based on the lack of competition and even use new regulation as an excuse to drive prices up. We do not need to settle for medicaid expansion or marketplaces. Let's be democrats. Let's pull the debate back to the left a little.

Let's get back on the public option train.

Thanks, Eric

Showing 2 reactions

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.

Subscribe Share


get updates