Raising Women’s Voices

Compromise on Public Plan Within Reach

Posted in DC Reform, Insurance companies by raisingwomensvoices on April 16, 2009

Nancy-Ann DeParle, director of the White House Health Reform office, said on Wednesday that a compromise on a government-sponsored public health option is within reach. OBAMA/HEALTHCARE-SEBELIUS

The announcement of the possibility of a public plan has alienated and angered many Republicans, but DeParle insists there are ways of bridging gaps. The public plan could pay hospitals and doctors rates similar to those that private insurers pay, rather than paying lower prices for medical services and forcing private insurers out of business by offering consumers lower premiums. This would still cut costs, as the government would not need to turn a profit, and it would cut down on administrative expenses.

The ideological fears are harder to assuage. But, though many Americans may not realize it, the government already pays for almost half the nation’s healthcare anyway, covering seniors, poor families, and many children. Obama has proposed a plan to expand this to middle class workers and their families, via a purchasing pool through which they could enroll in a public plan if they choose.

Obama has remained vague on the details, which make all the difference, leaving himself open to compromise. If open to all individuals and employees, and offering hospitals and doctors Medicare rates, the public plan could phase out private insurers. But if open to individuals and small businesses only, and offering similar rates as private insurers, the public plan’s impact would be limited and ultimately help those who currently have difficulty getting coverage.

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